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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Qatari royal close to Saudi Arabia says his assets have been frozen

Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani tweeted that his bank accounts in Qatar had been frozen.

Saudi King Salman, left, meets Qatari Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali, at the monarch's vacation home in Tangiers, Morocco. Saudi Press Agency via AP
Saudi King Salman, left, meets Qatari Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali, at the monarch's vacation home in Tangiers, Morocco. Saudi Press Agency via AP

A member of Qatar's royal family said on Saturday that Qatari authorities have frozen his bank accounts over his role in Doha's crisis with its neighbours.

"The Qatari regime has honoured me by freezing all my bank accounts," Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani tweeted.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar on June 5 over its alleged support of extremism, charges Doha denies.

In August, Sheikh Abdullah met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to mediate on reopening a land border to allow Qatari pilgrims to perform Hajj.

It was the first public high-level encounter between the nations since the diplomatic crisis erupted.

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The breakneck speed with which he has become known is represented by his Twitter account, which was created a day after his meeting with Prince Mohammed and grew to have more than 300,000 followers in less than two weeks.

Sheikh Abdullah’s role as a representative of the Qatari royal family was denied in Doha but the Saudi Arabian government moved along with his role as emissary nonetheless.

Doha was quick to point out that he was in Saudi Arabia on a "personal" mission, not for the government.

Sheikh Abdullah belongs to a branch of the Al Thani royal family, which has seen its power eroded but is still well-connected.

"I wish Qatar … to return to its Gulf brothers as there is no one else to count on," he tweeted on Saturday.

Gulf media reports have speculated over the possible formation of a Qatari government in exile

Sheikh Abdullah’s grandfather, father, and brother were all rulers of Qatar.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali, Sheikh Abdullah’s half-brother, was toppled by Emir Tamim’s grandfather, Khalifa bin Hamad. The Qatari palace witnessed another coup when Sheikh Hamad, his son, ousted the now deceased ruler ending his 23-year rule.

The sheikh left his post as the founder and chairman of the Qatar Equestrian Foundation in 1988 and has lived in Saudi Arabia for decades.