Saudi Arabia’s King Salman opened a Gulf Arab summit yesterday by calling for regional unity to confront Iran and secure energy supplies and maritime channels.
“Our region today is passing through circumstances and challenges that require concerted efforts to confront them as the Iranian regime continues its aggressive actions that threaten security and stability...,” he said.
In a televised speech, he also urged the global community to address Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani skipped the summit in Riyadh that had been pilled as a potential “reconciliation conference” amid signs of a thaw between Doha and a Saudi-led bloc.
Despite the no-show, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and the Qatari prime minister exchanged smiles and pleasantries when the Doha delegation arrived in Riyadh.
“The people of Qatar, welcome, to your second country,” said the commentator on Saudi state television, in warm words that could still bode well for regional diplomacy.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut all diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017 over allegations it backs radical Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and seeks closer ties with Saudi arch rival Tehran.
Qatar vehemently denies the allegations.