Qatar not invited to emergency Arab summits in Saudi Arabia, says Qatari official
Meetings to discuss drone attacks on oil assets, which Riyadh blames on Iran
Dubai — Qatar has not been invited to two regional summits called to discuss attacks on Saudi oil assets, a Qatari foreign ministry official said on Monday, but the Arab League said it had circulated invitations to member states.
Saudi King Salman on Saturday proposed a summit of Gulf Arab rulers and a wider meeting of Arab leaders in Mecca on May 30 to discuss last week’s drone strikes on oil installations in the kingdom and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed an economic and diplomatic boycott on Qatar since June 2017 over allegations that Doha supports terrorism and is cosying up to regional foe Iran. Qatar denies the charges.
“Qatar, which is still isolated from its neighbours, did not receive an invitation to attend the two summits,” the director of the Qatari foreign ministry information office said on Twitter, citing state minister for foreign affairs Soltan bin Saad al-Muraikhi.
The Saudi foreign ministry and government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Cairo-based League of Arab States said in a statement its secretariat had on Sunday “circulated the invitation issued by [King Salman] to Arab leaders to convene an emergency Arab summit in Mecca”.
Leaders of Arab and other Muslim countries were already due to gather in Mecca at the end of May for a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of ordering the drone strikes, for which Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis claimed responsibility.
The kingdom said while it did not want war to break out in the region, it was ready to respond strongly. The UAE has not blamed anyone for the sabotage acts against the tankers pending an investigation and said it was committed to de-escalation.
Iran has denied it carried out either attack.
The UAE on Sunday said the current “critical circumstances” in the region required a “unified Arab and Gulf stance”.
Yemen’s Houthi movement on Monday denied Saudi media reports that it had fired a ballistic missile towards Mecca, Islam’s holiest site.