Saudi Arabia says plans to hold talks with Qatar have been suspended, shortly after the emergence of reports that a phone call between Qatar’s emir and the Saudi crown prince hinted at a potential breakthrough in a major diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.
The call on Friday between Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was the first official contact between Doha and Riyadh since the start of the crisis more than three months ago.
State media on both sides reported that the two leaders had expressed a willingness to discuss an end to the rift. The phone call, which came after US President Donald Trump spoke separately with both sides, had initially been seen as a possible breakthrough in the crisis.
However, there seems to be a dispute over protocol – with some reports pointing out to Qatar News Agency’s apparent failure to mention that it was Doha that had initiated the call. Saudi Arabia afterwards accused Qatar of distorting facts about the call, and said it was ending talks.
The four Arab countries had accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, something Doha denies.