Qatar emir boycotts Arab summit in Saudi Arabia
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will not be in Saudi Arabia to represent his nation in a summit of the Arab leaders.
Qatar’s state news agency said that Doha’s permanent representative to the Arab League, Saif bin Muqaddam al-Buainain, will represent the Qatari delegation to the Saudi regime-hosted summit. The report did not elaborate why the decision was made, but it showed that a nearly year-old dispute between Qatar on one side and Arab neighbors in the Persian Gulf region is still a long way from being resolved.
The dispute came in June 2017 when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), along with Egypt and the Maldives, announced a halt to diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in response to the alleged support of the country for terrorism. Doha rejected the allegations and said the boycott was meant to force it into concessions that it said would violate its sovereignty.
Among the concessions Qatar was supposed to make, as it was later announced in a list of demands by the boycotting countries to restore the ties, was for Doha to reduce ties with Iran and shut down its flagship television channel Al Jazeera. Qatari authorities rejected the demands.
Sheikh Tamim’s boycotting of the summit comes as heads of state or government from most of the 22 other Arab countries are present in Saudi Arabia to attend the event. The emir was on top of Qatari delegation to the last year’s Arab summit in Jordan.
The decision also comes right after Sheikh Tamim returned from a trip to Washington where he was reportedly urged to accept the Saudi regime demands.
The House of Saud regime’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Thursday the dispute with Qatar would not be on the agenda of the Arab summit.