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News Worms


Phone call between Qatari, Saudi leaders sparks row

Phone call between Qatari, Saudi leaders sparks row

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani spoke for the first time since June when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar.

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

Qatar's state news agency QNA said the phone call was based on the coordination of US President Donald Trump who had earlier talked with Sheikh Tamim.

The Saudi-led Arab countries, also close USA allies, have presented Qatar with a list of 13 demands to restore relations, which the Qataris have so far rejected.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the inability of the United States to present a clear position on the Palestinian issue is hampering the Middle East settlement.

The Saudi state news service then responded with its own version of events, citing unnamed authorities, accusing Qatar of distorting the facts and declaring that dialogue between the two monarchies had been suspended.

"I was telling the Emir before that if I can help between the UAE and Saudi Arabia", he added.

The fact is the call was at the request of Qatar and was a request for dialogue with the four countries - Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt - on the demands they made in June.

Saudi's news agency carried similar remarks, saying Sheikh Tamim had called the crown prince to "express his desire" to discuss the boycotting country's demands.

Gulf countries involved in a diplomatic dispute with Qatar should enter into direct talks with Doha to solve the crisis, Russia's foreign minister said on a Sunday trip to Saudi Arabia.

Some other U.S. officials including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have adopted a more measured tone.

Doha hosts a major U.S. air base, home to the headquarters of Centcom - the regional command which leads operations against the Islamic State jihadist group. Qatar, which hosts a USA military base critical to the effort to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has long denied funding extremists.

Last month Qatari and U.S. paratroopers held a joint training exercise which American officials said reinforced "the enduring military-to-military" partnership between the two countries.

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