Skip to main content

Qatar FM confirms talks held with Saudi Arabia: Report

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates initiated blockade against Qatar in 2017
Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani says Qatar hopes discussions with Riyadh will yield 'positive results' (AFP/File photo)

Qatar's foreign minister confirmed that the country has been in talks with Saudi Arabia, more than two years after Riyadh began a blockade against Doha and cut off diplomatic ties with its Gulf neighbour.

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Qatar hoped the discussions would yield "positive results".

"We have moved from a stalemate to some progress where ... some talks took place between us and specifically Saudi," he said at a foreign policy conference in Rome, the Al Jazeera news network reported on Friday.

"We hope that these talks will lead to our progress where we can see an end for the crisis."

The minister thanked Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, for his role in mediating between the two countries, Al Jazeera reported.

The network reported that Thani had confirmed several meetings were held between officials of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and had taken place in different locations. It did not specify what topics were discussed.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates launched a boycott against Qatar in June 2017, and also initiated a land, air and sea blockade.

The countries accused their Gulf neighbour of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs - accusations that Qatar has denied.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia: Is a thaw in the Gulf cold war in sight?
Read More »

They also outlined a list of demands, which included closing Al Jazeera, reducing ties with Iran and ending military cooperation with Turkey.

Qatar rejected the demands and accused the Saudi-led states of seeking to diminish its sovereignty.

The political tensions have appeared to thaw in recent weeks.

In late November, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Qatari foreign minister had made an unannounced visit to Riyadh in October to meet with government officials.

The trip was geared towards ending the ongoing diplomatic spat, the newspaper said.

On Wednesday, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz invited the Qatari emir to the annual Gulf Cooperation Council meeting to be held in Riyadh later this month.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain also participated in an international football tournament in Qatar.

The Saudi team beat Qatar 1-0 in their Arabian Gulf Cup match on Thursday, advancing to Sunday's final against Bahrain.