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Qatari emir's visit to Saudi Arabia suggests reconciliation over Palestine

Emir of isolated Qatar arrives in Saudi Arabia at the height of talks about Palestine, despite the ongoing GCC rift
Qatar's Foreign Minister meets UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Doha on 20 July (AFP)

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks with King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz.

The Doha-based news agency carried the news with no further details.

The visit comes amid diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip between Palestinian resistance factions and Israel.

The news has been greeted with enthusiasm on Twitter, with up to 50 tweets a minute under the hashtag #QatariEmirArrivesInSaudi.

The move marks a significant development in relations between Saudi Arabia and an isolated Qatar, which has been sidelined from the six GCC states because of its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a group declared a “terrorist organisation” by GCC leader Saudi Arabia in March 2014.

Since 7 July, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip with fierce aerial bombardments with the ostensible aim of halting rocket fire.

At least 632 Palestinians have been killed - mostly civilians - and nearly 4000 others injured in Israel's ongoing offensive, now in its third week.

Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rocket at Israeli cities in response to relentless Israeli bombardments.

According to official Israeli figures, 30 Israelis have been killed since hostilities began.

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