Qatari Emir Shuns GCC Summit In Saudi, Sends Foreign Minister

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DOHA — Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has refused to participate in the annual [Persian] Gulf Co­operation Council (GCC) sum­mit, which is set to take place in the Saudi capital city of Ri­yadh at the weekend, and in­stead sent the foreign minister to attend the event.

“Minister of State for For­eign Affairs Sultan al-Murai­khi arrived in Riyadh to lead the delegation of Qatar to the [P]GCC summit,” director of information office at the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed al-Rumaihi, wrote in a post published on Twitter on Sunday.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minis­ter Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah, in return, criti­cized Qatar’s emir in a tweet for not attending the regional grouping’s summit.

“Qatar’s emir should have accepted the fair demands (of the boycotting states) and at­tended the summit,” Sheikh Khalid wrote in his tweet.

The official Qatar News Agency said in a tweet on De­cember 3 that the monarch had got “an invitation from the King of Saudi Arabia” for the meeting, but it did not say whether Sheikh Tamim would travel to Saudi Arabia.

The Arabic language Al Aan online newspaper, citing diplomatic sources, reported late last month that Secretary General of the [P]GCC Abdul Latif bin Rashid al-Zayani was going to visit Doha to invite the Qatari emir to attend the the 39th annual summit of the regional grouping.

Last month, Kuwait’s Dep­uty Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah confirmed that all six GCC countries would be attending the annual summit of the council, which is set to take place on December 9.

Jarallah said the summit could present a “hope to re­solve the [Persian] Gulf crisis and solve the differences.”

The report came as a sur­prise since Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, has been embroiled in a diplomat­ic and trade boycott against Qatar for a year and a half.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt all cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 last year, after officially accusing it of “sponsoring ter­rorism.”

The administration of the Saudi-backed and former Ye­meni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Libya, the Mal­dives, Djibouti, Senegal and the Comoros later joined the camp in ending diplomatic ties with Doha. Jordan down­graded its diplomatic relations as well.

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