Qatar moves to ease Saudi tensions

Meeting between two countries' rulers intended to 'improve atmosphere' ahead of GCC summit in Doha.
Qatar moves to ease Saudi tensions
By Safura Rahimi
Sun 23 Sep 2007 11:48 AM

The ruler of Qatar left Saudi Arabia on Saturday after a brief meeting with the Saudi king, a move seen as a step toward possibly easing tensions between the two Gulf states.

The two rulers discussed boosting bilateral relations in various fields between the two “brotherly countries”, and developments on the Gulf, Arab, Islamic and international arenas, Saudi official news agency SPA said on Saturday.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was accompanied by Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al-Thani, who in July made a surprise visit to the kingdom.

The neighbouring states have long had political differences and often criticise each other through their respective media, newswire AFP reported on Sunday.

A Gulf diplomatic source in Riyadh told the newswire that the emir’s visit was also intended to "improve the atmosphere" and ensure that King Abdullah attends the GCC summit to be held in Qatar.

The Saudi ruler boycotted a GCC summit in Qatar in 2002 following Doha-based Al Jazeera TV channel’s airing of a programme which sharply criticised the Saudi royal family.

And Saudi has since opposed a proposed pipeline to carry Qatari gas to Kuwait through the kingdom, blocking the project with its refusal to allow the pipeline to pass through its territorial waters.

However, the two countries signed a border delineation agreement in 1992, ending a long-standing territorial dispute and easing tensions that had mounted between the two countries when a Qatari border post was allegedly attacked by Saudi forces resulting in three deaths.

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