It is now two years since Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar (MEES, 9 June 2017). The rift shows no sign of easing. Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani last week became the first senior official to visit Saudi Arabia since the June 2017 flareup when he attended a series of summits. But rather than heralding a tentative breakthrough, the visit merely served to launch a new round of acrimony.

Saudi Arabia hosted emergency meetings of the GCC and of the Arab League on 30 May and of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on 31 May to discuss concerns over Iranian threats. The PM shook hands with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and his visit appeared to pass largely without incident at the time. (CONTINUED - 1053 WORDS)