Saudi king invites Qatari ruler to summit amid Gulf rift

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Cairo, Dec.30,2020 Saudi King Salman has invited Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad to attend an upcoming Gulf summit in Riyadh expected to focus on resolving a year-long diplomatic row between a Saudi-led bloc and Doha.

Saudi Arabia is due to host on Jan. 5, an annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a U.S.-allied grouping.

The invitation was handed to Tamim on Wednesday by GCC head Nayef al-Hajraf, the official Saudi news agency SPA reported.

Qatar’s state news agency QNA confirmed the delivery of the invitation but did not say if Tamiam will attend the summit.

Tamim skipped the GCC summit held in Saudi Arabia in the past two years and sent representatives instead.

The Riyadh meeting is to convene amid optimism about ending the rift, one of the most serious experienced by the GCC since it was created in 1981.

Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said efforts aimed at ending the Gulf crisis had resulted in “significant progress.’’

In 2017, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), severed diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar, accusing it of supporting militant groups, an accusation that Doha denies.

Kuwait and the United States have since been trying to mediate a solution.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE are members of the GCC.

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