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Friday, December 3, 2021

Qatar FM will not visit Beirut this week despite reports, analysts speculate why

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Qatar has offered to mediate in resolving the ongoing diplomatic rift between Lebanon and some Gulf countries. 

Qatar’s FM will not visit Lebanon this week as had been previously reported by some media outlets, Lebanese and Arab diplomatic sources told ‘Al Joumhouria’.

Lebanese media had said officials anticipated Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to visit Beirut in a bid to mediate between Lebanon and the GCC.

Following a meeting between Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Lebanon’s Najib Mikati on the fringe of the climate conference in Glasgow, a statement was issued by Prime Minister Mikati’s office stating that “during the meeting, Qatar’s Amir said he will send Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to Beirut soon.” 

Sources told the Lebanese Al Joumhouria on Wednesday that the fact the proposed visit was no longer taking place could mean that Qatar’s bid to mediate may not have been successful. 

Analysts speculated to the Lebanese newspaper that this failure could be due to discouraging messages which came from Washington during Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani’s recent visit, claiming that “the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken did not encourage him to take any step towards the role of a successful mediator.”

Read also: Lebanon’s PM meets Qatar’s amir in Glasgow amid GCC crisis

Mikati met with Sheikh Tamim on November 1st during the United Nation’s COP26 climate summit, where the two discussed ways to mediate between Lebanon and the GCC amid rising tensions in the region that were sparked by criticism from Beirut’s Minister of Information over the Yemen war.

Tensions ignited last month after a televised video circulated online from an August interview in which Information the minister, George Kordahi made critical remarks about the Saudi-led coalition’s war against on Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies protested against, and imposed harsh sanctions on Lebanon including an immediate freeze on imports. Lebanese authorities called for dialogue and Qatar offered to mediate talks between Beirut and Riyadh. 

Earlier, Al Joumhouria reported on an “anticipated visit between the Foreign Ministers of Qatar and Turkey” noting that the visit could be an indicator of how things will pan out in the coming days.

The report suggested that there is likely to be “a link between Qatar and Turkey’s stance in light of Ankara and Doha’s strong relationship.”

Political sources told the paper that “the Qatari minister’s mission in Beirut can not be separated from his meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Washington, and his position reflects the American administration’s support to Najib Mikati and his government.”

Read also: Qatar in talks with Lebanon amid efforts to calm GCC dispute

Sources predicted that “the visit of the Qatari official will be coordinated with the Americans,” following his recent visit to Washington. 

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Beirut as was expected and met President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, and other government officials and was scheduled to meet Mikati on Tuesday.

Cavusoglu offered to support negotiations between Lebanon and the Gulf to resolve the ongoing dispute.


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