by Jazeh Miller
Last Friday, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke on the phone with each other regarding the dispute between the two nations. Not long after the call, Qatari state media reported that there was a breakthrough in discussions.
However, the following day, Saudi Arabia decided to suspend dialogue with Qatar, slamming it for “distorting facts”.
Several months ago, Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE (United Arab Emirates), ended trade links and cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. On 5th June, air and shipping routes were suspended.
Qatar is the home to the biggest US military base in the region and is also the biggest exporter in the world of liquefied natural gas.
Kuwait has been attempting to mediate the dispute between the nations. The dispute is based on claims that Qatar has been supporting terrorism and Iran – the region’s foe, as well as Islamists. Qatari leaders are denying that there is any truth in the claims.
The phone call on Friday was the first time there has been contact between the leaders since the dispute started in June.
State media in Qatar reported that the call was coordinated by US President Donald Trump who wants the countries to reunite so that they can face Iran as a united front. Trump had spoken to Sheikh Tamim earlier in the day and said that he would like to see a reconciliation between the nations.
In the call to Saudi Arabia, the Emir of Qatar said he was willing to “sit at the dialogue table” and would listen to the demands of the other countries so that a decision could be made in the best interests of all involved.
However, Saudi Arabia issued a statement saying that Qatari reports about the call were inaccurate.
Saudi state news agency SPA wrote: “What was published on the Qatar News Agency is a continuation of the distortion of the Qatari authority of the facts. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announces the suspension of any dialogue or communication with the authority in Qatar until a clear statement is issued clarifying its position in public.”
President Trump is aware that the threat of Iran needs to be dealt with urgently. He believes that if the United States’ allies can join together, it will show Iran that they are a strong alliance.
President Trump also urged the Arab nations to uphold their commitments made during the summit earlier this year to ending terrorism and countering Iran.