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Qatar's emir visits Saudi Arabia as rift eases

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (C), clad in mask as part of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic protocols, cheers during the Amir Cup final football match between al-Sadd and al-Arabi at Al-Rayyan Stadium in Al-Rayyan, Qatar, on December 18, 2020. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)
2021-05-11

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SULAIMANI — Qatar's ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani landed in Saudi Arabia for talks Monday (May 10), in his second visit since the countries re-established relations in January following a bitter three-year feud.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler, received Sheikh Tamim in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, according to images and a statement published by Saudi state media.

The visit, which came at the invitation of Saudi Arabia's King Salman, was aimed at discussing bilateral relations and other issues of "common interest", the official Qatar News Agency said.

Saudi Arabia and its allies broke off ties with Qatar in June 2017 over claims it was too close to Iran and backed radical Islamist groups, allegations Qatar has always denied.

But in January of this year, the boycotting countries agreed to restore ties with Qatar following a flurry of diplomatic activity by the administration of former US president Donald Trump.

Sheikh Tamim last travelled to the kingdom in January for a summit hosted by Prince Mohammed in the desert city of Al-Ula, which led to Doha being readmitted to the regional fold.

Since the reconciliation there have been cautious steps towards normality, including the resumption of air travel between the former adversaries and the reopening of Qatar's sole land border with Saudi Arabia.

(NRT Digital Media/AFP)