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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Saudi's Crown Prince says Qatar won't be barred from Arab summit

Mohammed bin Salman said the dispute with Doha 'could last for a long time'

A handout photo made available by the Egyptian Presidency shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi (R) walking with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) prior his departure, in Cairo, Egypt, on March 6, 2018. EPA
A handout photo made available by the Egyptian Presidency shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi (R) walking with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) prior his departure, in Cairo, Egypt, on March 6, 2018. EPA

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that Qatar will not be barred from an Arab summit in Riyadh later this month, but the standoff between Doha and its neighbouring countries could last a “long time”.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have cut all transport and diplomatic ties with Qatar over its support of extremist groups and interference in the affairs of other countries. Doha denies this.

“We will not accept any resolutions to the crisis [with Qatar] outside an Arab or a Gulf framework, but that does not mean we will bar Qatar from attending the upcoming Arab summit,” Crown Prince Mohammed said in comment published on Wednesday in the Egyptian daily, Al Shorouk.

He added that the dispute with Doha “could last for a long time”, making a comparison to America’s decades-long embargo on Cuba.

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Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman was in Cairo earlier this week on his first foreign visit since being appointed crown prince last June.

Mediation efforts by Kuwait and the US have so far failed to end the rift between Qatar and its neighbouring countries.

The four Arab countries stand firm by their decision to boycott Qatar, saying they are willing to re-establish communications with Doha only if it adheres to regional and international agreements and the demands and principles they have issued.

Doha has so far refused to meet the quartet’s 13 demands – including the closure of Qatar-owned Al Jazeera news channel, which the quartet says provides a platform for extremists and dissidents.