Saudi Arabia will not bar Qatar from attending the annual summit of the Arab League to take place in the kingdom later this March, despite the eight-month old blockade imposed on the tiny Gulf country by a Saudi-led quartet, heir to the Saudi throne told Egyptian media bosses.
Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (MbS) told Egyptian media editors that the Kingdom would not stand in the way of Qatar’s participation, Egyptian Al-Shorouk newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The young royal made the comments during his three-day visit to Egypt that wound up Wednesday.
The Arab League is meeting in the kingdom on March 23 for its annual meeting. MbS’s decision to allow Qatar to attend the event has removed several questions over the success of the Arab summit. The latest Gulf summit hosted by Kuwait late last year ended abruptly the same day it opened following decision by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain to send low key officials because of Qatar’s presence.
Saudi Arabia, its three gulf neighbors and Egypt in June severed ties with Qatar over the emirate’s alleged support for terrorism. The so-called Quartet cut sea, ground and air links with Qatar.
Doha vehemently rejected the charges saying that it was victim of a smear campaign seeking regime change.
The 32-year old de facto Saudi leader, ignoring calls to lift the blockades, told the Egyptian media that the blockade could take much longer, comparing it to the US embargo imposed on Cuba 60 years ago. The powerful young royal also belittled Qatar describing the emirate as ‘smaller than a Cairo street’.
MbS’s decision to allow Qatari officials to attend the Arab summit could be interpreted as a little positive sign to the White House after President Trump reportedly threatened to call off the Camp David summit in May, scheduled to bring together all US Gulf allies, if the diplomatic tumult is not solved.