Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani paid a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the third Gulf leader to arrive in Riyadh this week after the Emir of Kuwait and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
King Salman Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia met with Sheikh Tamim at the Royal Palace in the Saudi capital, where they discussed bilateral relations as well as regional and international developments.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques held a luncheon in honor of the Qatari official delegation that included Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani; Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah; Chief of the Emir’s Court Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Al Thani; as well as a number of officials.
The talks were attended by Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Crown Prince, Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz; Deputy Crown Prince, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Prince Muhammad Bin Naif; and Minister of Defense and President of the Royal Court and Special Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz, among other senior officials.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and the tiny Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) state worsened in recent months over claims of Qatar’s support for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which was removed from power by a popular uprising in mid-2013.
However, following mediation efforts by other members of the GCC, Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE and Bahrain, returned their ambassadors to Doha in November of 2014 after a seven-month break in diplomatic relations.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Qatari Foreign Minister Attiyah said there was no gap to be bridged between Doha and Cairo and that his government always had the best wishes for Egypt and its people.
The Qatari official said his country’s ties with Saudi Arabia were “historical, firm and extend for a long time.”
Atiyyah said joint GCC work was much needed at the moment in order to face the turmoil and instability in the region.
He declined to comment on any possible measures undertaken by Qatar to respond to events in Yemen after the Houthi takeover, but he confirmed the GCC will respond collectively under the umbrella of the UN Security Council.
Later on Tuesday Sheikh Tamim visited the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz palace in Riyadh to pay his condolences to the late King Abdullah’s sons .
The Qatari Emir was received by Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and other sons of the late King.