Saudi Arabia on Friday suspended all talks with Qatar, accusing the country of “distorting facts”. The announcement was made an hour after a phone call between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Arab News reported.
The call was the first official contact between Doha and Riyadh since Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in June. Alleging that the country supported extremist groups and was too close to Iran, the group had imposed economic sanctions on Qatar, worsening the diplomatic crisis in West Asia. Doha had rejected their 13-point list of demands and condemned them as an attempt to infringe Qatar’s sovereignty.
Soon after the phone call between the two leaders, the official Saudi Press Agency had reported that the crown prince had welcomed Qatar’s desire to initiate a dialogue to end the diplomatic isolation. The change in stand came after the Qatar News Agency published a report that “did not have any relevance to truth”, according to an unidentified official of the Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry.
The Qatari agency had said that both Qatar’s emir and the Saudi crown prince had “stressed the need to resolve the crisis” and that United States President Donald Trump had helped coordinate the talks. The Saudi Press Agency said the article was “a continuation of the distortion by the Qatari authority of the facts”.
Some reports say the dispute over protocol was over Qatar News Agency failing to mention that Doha had initiated the call, according to Al Jazeera.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia declares that any dialogue or communication with the authority in Qatar shall be suspended until a clear statement explaining its position is made in public and that its public statements are in conformity with its obligations,” the Saudi agency said.