Talks with Saudi Arabia stalled: Qatar

Updated February 17, 2020

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FILE PHOTO: Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani speaks during the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 17, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani speaks during the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 17, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo

DOHA: Talks between Doha and Riyadh to resolve a two-year regional spat have stalled, Qatar’s foreign minister said, after a flurry of diplomacy last year raised hopes the damaging rift was being healed.

Saudi Arabia, along with its allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut all diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017.

The four governments accused Doha of backing radical Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and seeking closer ties with Tehran — allegations Qatar vehemently denied.

“We have always been very open to dialogue, since the start of the Gulf Cooper­ation Council (regional bloc) crisis,” Qatar’s Foreign Min­is­ter Mohammed bin Abdul­rahman Al-Thani said at the Munich Security Conference.

“It’s been almost three years since the crisis started. We are not the perpetrators of that crisis and we’ve been very open and clear that we are open to any genuine intention to resolve this problem.

“We demonstrated this when there was an opening last year in November. Unfortunately these efforts didn’t succeed and have been suspended at the beginning of January.”

Two Doha-based diplomats said they did not see any indications that the nascent talks could be resumed for the foreseeable future following a burst of engagement at the end of last year.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2020