Hopes for Qatar crisis breakthrough raised, shattered within minutes

Dubai: Prospects for a breakthrough in the Gulf crisis were raised for a few minutes last night before they faded after Qatar was accused of altering the facts about a telephone conversation and Saudi Arabia distanced itself, ruling out contacts until Doha matched its public statements with its commitments.

Saudi Press Agency first reported that Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud received a telephone call from Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar.

During the call, the Emir expressed his desire to sit at the dialogue table and discuss the demands of the four countries to ensure the interests of all parties, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Prince Mohammad welcomed Shaikh Tamim’s desire and details were to be announced later after Saudi Arabia concludes an understanding with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, SPA added.

However, in its report, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported that a call was held between Shaikh Tamim and Crown Prince Mohammad, without mentioning who initiated it. However, it said that the call was based on coordination from US President Donald Trump and that Shaikh Tamim and Prince Mohammad stressed the need to settle the crisis by sitting to a dialogue table to guarantee the unity and stability of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The Qatari news agency added that Shaikh Tamim welcomed a proposal made by Prince Mohammad during the talks to assign two envoys to settle issues in dispute in a way that does not affect the sovereignty of the states.

The report was immediately assailed by Saudi Arabia as not reflecting the facts.

A Saudi Foreign Ministry official said that the report about the phone conversation as published by Qatar News Agency (QNA) did not have any relevance to the truth and was a continuation of the distortion by the Qatari authority of reality.

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