Qatari emir and Saudi crown prince talk over phone, start new dispute

Saudi Arabia suspends dialogue with Qatar after high-level phone call

Middle East: Saudi Arabia on Saturday suspended further talks with Qatar, after accusing it of distorting facts over a phone call between the rulers of the two countries.

Initially media outlets from both countries had offered hope of a breakthrough in the three-month-old Gulf crisis, Al Jazeera reported.

The call was the first formal contact between Riyadh and Doha since the crisis began.

State media on both sides reported that Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had discussed the need for dialogue to resolve the crisis.

Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said Qatar’s leader had “expressed his desire to sit at the dialogue table and discuss the demands of the four countries”, and that further announcements would be made after Saudi Arabia reached an agreement with Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE.

Meanwhile, the Qatar News Agency (QNA) said the Saudi crown prince had proposed assigning “two envoys to resolve the issues in a way that does not affect the sovereignty of the states”.

Shortly afterwards, Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of not being “serious” about the dialogue, and said communications between the two sides would be suspended.

According to the report, Saudi media cited an unnamed official at the ministry of foreign affairs calling QNA’s published report about the phone call as a “distortion of … 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,” the second statement added.

Earlier White House issued a statement saying that US President Donald Trump with the Qatari and Saudi leaders separately on Friday, as well as with the UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In his phone calls, Trump told the Gulf leaders that unity among America’s Arab allies was essential to promote regional stability and countering the threat of Iran, the statement added.

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