Saudi king invites Qatar’s emir to GCC summit in Mecca

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has received an invitation from Saudi King Salman to attend the emergency Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit on May 30, the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani received the message while meeting the GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani in Doha on Sunday.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cut off ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea, and air blockade on the Gulf state.

The quartet accuses Doha of supporting “terrorism” and proscribed opposition political movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar has repeatedly rejected the accusations as baseless.

Earlier this month, King Salman had proposed holding two summits in Mecca at the end of May to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The announcement followed drone attacks on oil installations in the kingdom and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the coast of the UAE.

Riyadh accused Tehran of ordering the recent drone attacks on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom, claimed by Yemen’s Houthi group.

Iran denied it was behind the attacks and a senior Iranian military commander was quoted as saying his country was not looking for war.

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it shot down a bomb-laden drone deployed by the Houthis to attack an airport in the kingdom.

The Saudi air force intercepted and destroyed the drone that targeted Jizan airport, close to the southern border with Yemen, the Saudi-UAE-led coalition fighting the rebels said.

A Houthi leader said on Sunday the group resumed drone attacks deep inside Saudi Arabia this month in response to what he called the coalition’s spurning of “peace initiatives” by the rebels.

Tensions in the Gulf have escalated since the US decision in early May to send an aircraft carrier strike force and B-52 bombers in a show of force against what Washington’s leaders said was an imminent Iranian plan to attack US assets.

No evidence was given on the alleged plan.

Washington says the latest reinforcements were in response to a “campaign” of recent attacks including a rocket launched into the Green Zone in Baghdad, the explosive devices that damaged four tankers near the entrance to the Gulf, and the  drone attacks by Yemeni rebels on the Saudi oil pipeline.

 Source: AlJazeera