Qatar FM says Doha in talks with Saudi Arabia

Qatar in talks with Saudi, Gulf crisis 'no longer in stalemate,' says Qatar foreign minister
2 min read
07 December, 2019
Qatar's foreign minister has expressed hopes for 'progress' in ending the Gulf diplomatic crisis, confirming that talks have taken place between Riyadh and Doha.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani expressed hopes for "progress" in resolving the crisis [Getty]

Qatar and Saudi Arabia have held talks that could signal the end of the Gulf diplomatic crisis, Qatar's foreign minister indicated on Friday.

Speaking at a foreign policy conference in Rome, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani expressed hopes for "progress" in resolving the Gulf crisis, saying Riyadh and Doha have "moved rom a stalemate".

"We have moved from a stalemate to some progress where ... some talks took place between us and specifically Saudi," the Qatari foreign minister was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera at the MED 2019 conference.

"We hope that these talks will lead to our progress where we can see an end for the crisis."

He added that officials from both states had held talks on several occasions, however refused to confirm recent reports that he had personally travelled to Riyadh to negotiate the blockade's end.

Saudi Arabia imposed a diplomatic blockade on Qatar more than two years ago, accusing its neighbour of supporting terrorism and cosying up to Riyadh's regional rival, Iran.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt joined Saudi Arabia in the boycott.

Qatar denied the charges levelled by the Saudi-led bloc, while also rejecting a list of 13 key demands placed by the quartet to end the blockade. Among the demands made was that Qatar distance itself from Iran and shutter several Doha-based media outlets, including The New Arab and Al Jazeera.

Priot to the Sheikh Mohammed's remarks on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the foreign minister had visited Riyadh in October in a bid to end the standoff. The top Qatari diplomat reportedly met Saudi officials and made an offer to resolve the rift.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia's King Salman invited Qatar's emir to a summit meeting next week of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh. Kuwaiti Prime Minister Khaled Al-Sabah said on Sunday that the forthcoming GCC summit would be “an extremely important step forward to Gulf reconciliation”.

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