News Analysis |
Saudi Arabia has cut off talks with Qatar on Saturday accusing the tiny Gulf country of “distorting facts” regarding the telephonic conversation that took place between the leaders of both the countries on Friday. Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman spoke on the phone with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani about the still-continuing Gulf crisis which started in June when Saudi Arabia and its allies ended diplomatic ties with Doha over its alleged support for terrorism and ties with Iran.
KSA has laughed off at talks of a thaw with Iran; add the muscle-flexing between Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel to the mix, Qatar’s ties with Iran will not be likened at all
In a statement on Saturday attributed to a Saudi official in the foreign ministry read: “The contact was at the request of Qatar and its request for dialogue. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia declares that any dialogue with Qatar shall be suspended until a clear statement explaining its position is made in public.”
Read more: Doha turns to Islamabad as the Gulf crisis festers.
Earlier the telephonic conversation was reported by the state media of both countries. “During the call, the Emir of Qatar expressed his desire to sit at the dialogue table and discuss the demands of the four countries to ensure the interests of all,” Saudi state news agency SPA reported, raising hopes of an end to a three-month long stalemate.
“The details will be announced later after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia concludes an understanding with the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Arab Republic of Egypt,” SPA added.
It could be argued that while both countries are strengthening their ties, Saudi Arabia and the US are becoming increasingly wary of Tehran
Both Qatar’s Emir and the Saudi Crown Prince “stressed the need to resolve the crisis by sitting down to the dialogue table to ensure the unity and stability of the GCC countries,” QNA reported. Sheikh Tamim welcomed the proposal of Prince Mohammed during the call “to assign two envoys to resolve controversial issues in a way that does not affect the sovereignty of the states,” QNA said.
Read more: The Gulf crisis: Small states battle it out (SSRN Working Paper…
This account of the phone was termed as “disinformation” by Riyadh and became a reason for the suspension of talks. The report was denied by an anonymous official of the foreign ministry in Riyadh. “What was published by the Qatar News Agency is a continuation of the distortion of the Qatari authority of the facts,” SPA quoted the very official?
Detente not possible
The President underscored that unity among the United States’ Arab partners is essential to promoting regional stability and countering the threat of Iran
The expectations surrounding the phone call were short-lived and perhaps a tad too much. A thaw seems untenable and a far shot, at best. President Trump while talking to the leaders of the countries in question offered his good offices for mediation, but there was one caveat which precluded this from happening: Iran.
The statement released by the White House read: “The President underscored that unity among the United States’ Arab partners is essential to promoting regional stability and countering the threat of Iran.”
Gulf crisis which started in June when Saudi Arabia and its allies ended diplomatic ties with Doha over its alleged support for terrorism and ties with Iran
This comes days after Qatar, in an act of defiance of its fellow GCC countries revived ambassadorial ties with Tehran. Analysts could see it coming as both countries had moved closer to each other after the crisis. Qatar’s resolve of maintaining its sovereignty and not wilting under pressure played a huge part in it.
Read more: The blockade defeats its purpose; Doha revives diplomatic ties with Tehran
It could be argued that while both countries are strengthening their ties, Saudi Arabia and the US are becoming increasingly wary of Tehran. The Iran nuclear deal is in great jeopardy as Trump has ramped up its criticism of it; KSA has laughed off at talks of a thaw with Iran; add the muscle-flexing between Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel to the mix, Qatar’s ties with Iran will not be likened at all.
The crisis is likely to elongate; if anything, the real target of the blockade is the one which is benefitting from it the most.