Qatar’s emir in Saudi Arabia for talks with new king

Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrived in Riyadh a day after a high-level delegation from the UAE.

Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani meets with Saudi Arabia's King Salman in Riyadh on February 17. AP Photo
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RIYADH // Qatar’s ruler was in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks with the newly enthroned King Salman about the deteriorating security situation in Yemen and relations with Egypt.

A Saudi official said Salman greeted Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the airport, a day after a high-level delegation from the UAE arrived for similar talks. The rulers of Bahrain and Kuwait have also met with King Salman for bilateral meetings since he assumed the throne last month after the passing of his half-brother King Abdullah.

The official said Tuesday’s talks between King Salman and Emir Tamim focused mostly on the Shiite rebel takeover of Yemen’s government, which Saudi Arabia sees as a threat to its own stability and as regional interference from rival Iran.

The two leaders also talked about Qatar’s relations with Egypt.

Taking part in the talks was the head of the Saudi National Guard Prince Miteb, Deputy Crown Prince and Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Defense Minister and King Salman’s son Prince Mohammed.

Emir Tamim last visited Saudi Arabia in January to offer condolences after King Abdullah’s death. Relations soured between Qatar’s young emir and the ageing monarch after the ouster of Qatari-backed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Saudi Arabia supported Egypt’s military when it overthrew Mr Morsi from power and backed his successor, Abdel Fattah El Sissi, as he led a lethal crackdown on Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Under King Abdullah last year, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew ambassadors from Qatar, citing it as a move to protect their security in the face of Doha’s support for organisations that threaten the Gulf’s stability. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have branded the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbours agreed to reinstate ambassadors to Qatar eight months later in November after several rounds of high-level talks and months of pressure that forced Doha to expel several Brotherhood figures. Saudi Arabia had also begun overseeing efforts to repair ties between Egypt and Qatar.

* Associated Press