In what was seen as a breakthrough in relations, Qatar’s Emir and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince spoke over the phone for the first time yesterday about the Gulf dispute.
But any hope of diplomatic progress was swiftly dashed after what Al Jazeera called a “protocol mishap.”
This led to Saudi Arabia suspending any further dialogue for the time being.
The issue appeared to involve the way QNA reported the news about the phone call.
The agency said that the two Gulf officials had spoken in a conversation coordinated by US President Donald Trump.
QNA added that Sheikh Tamim welcomed Mohammed bin Salman’s idea to assign two envoys to resolve the dispute “in a way that does not affect the sovereignty of states.”
Saudi’s news agency carried similar remarks, saying Sheikh Tamim had called the crown prince to “express his desire” to discuss the boycotting country’s demands.
But it later issued a second statement denouncing QNA for distorting the facts, presumably by not making it clear that Qatar had initiated the phone call.
According to SPA, not doing so shows “Qatar is not serious in dialogue and continues its previous policies.”
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia declares that any dialogue or communication with the authority in Qatar shall be suspended until a clear statement explaining its position is made in public and that its public statements are in conformity with its obligations.”
For its part, Qatar’s foreign ministry said that officials were “willing to discuss any request by the siege countries in the context of a constructive dialogue based on respecting international law and the sovereignty of countries.”