Qatar has not received an invitation to take part in two regional summits called to discuss attacks on Saudi oil assets inside the Arab kingdom and off the coasts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Qatari Foreign Ministry official says.
“Qatar, which is still isolated from its neighbors, did not receive an invitation to attend the two summits,” the director of the Qatari Foreign Ministry Information Office said on Twitter on Monday, citing State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi.
Back in June 2017, Saudi Arabia cut its own ties with Doha, with Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain followed Riyadh’s suit. The so-called Quartet accused Doha of sponsoring terrorism. Qatar strongly denied the charges.
However, Saudi Arabia and its allies released a 13-point list of demands, including the closure of the Al Jazeera television network and the downgrading of relations with Iran, in return for the normalization of diplomatic relations with Doha. Qatar also rejected those demands, saying it was being targeted because of the independent policies which it pursued.
Meanwhile, the Egypt-based League of Arab States said in a statement that its secretariat had on Sunday “circulated the invitation issued by (King Salman) to Arab leaders to convene an emergency Arab summit in Mecca.”
Arab leaders and heads of other Muslim countries are already due to convene in the Saudi holy city at the end of May for a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The Qatari Foreign Ministry’s comment on the summits came two days after Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz proposed holding a summit of Persian Gulf Arab rulers and a larger meeting of all Arab leaders in the Saudi holy city of Mecca on May 30 to discuss last week’s drone attacks on oil installations in Saudi Arabia and the “sabotage” inflicted on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the coast of UAE’s Fujairah port.
Iran has already described the attack on vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, an Emirati ship and the Norwegian tanker Andrea Victory, as “lamentable” and “worrying” and called for thorough investigations. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of being behind the sabotage acts, an allegation strongly denied by Tehran.
The UAE, a significant ally of Riyadh in its war on Yemen, said on Sunday said that the current “critical circumstances” in the region required a “unified Arab and [the Persian] Gulf stance.”
Riyadh has also accused Iran of “ordering” Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah fighters to conduct drone attacks on May 14 on two Saudi oil pumping stations in the towns of Dawadmi and Afif, which lie in the Najd region west of the capital Riyadh.
Both Iran and Ansarullah have dismissed the allegation, with the latter saying that the Houthi movement, a significant ally of the Yemeni army, had conducted the attacks without receiving orders from any country.