Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Qatar on Wednesday evening for his first visit to Doha since June 2017, marking the beginning of a diplomatic crisis between the two countries that had reconciled almost a year ago.
The Crown Prince, who practically rules Saudi Arabia, is on a regional tour of Qatar, taking him to Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
According to Saudi state media, Mohammed bin Salman is scheduled to travel to MBS, Bahrain and Kuwait in preparation for the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in mid-December.
According to the official SPA news agency, he was received in Doha by the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
The visit marks the improvement in relations between the two countries, which restored their diplomatic relations last January after more than three-and-a-half years of crisis in the Gulf.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, severed diplomatic ties with Qatar and accused it of inciting unrest in the region.
They particularly criticized Doha for being too close to Saudi Arabia’s rival regional power Iran and for supporting extremist groups, which Qatari officials have always denied.
Following Oman’s signing of $ 30 billion worth of trade deals, MBS flew to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday evening, where he met with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Emirates’ strongman Mohammed bin Saeed Al Nahyan.
“Unity and Stability”
Mohammed Ben Saeed Al-Nahyane, quoted by Emirates WAM’s official agency, confirmed that “excellent relations between our two countries are strengthening.” “Saudi Arabia has always been an important regional player. “
The two countries pledged to promote the unity and stability of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which unites Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
MBS visited the World Expo in Dubai on Wednesday with heavy police security. The Saudi pavilion was closed to the audience and a small crowd of spectators gathered outside.
The Saudi Crown Prince arrived in the Emirates shortly after the news broke that Khalid al-Otaibi, a Saudi national suspected of being a member of the commando team involved in the assassination of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Kashoki in 2018, had been arrested in Paris on Tuesday. Embassy in Istanbul.
But on Wednesday, Paris Attorney General Remy Heights announced his release.
“Mr. Otaypi was arrested on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued by Turkish judicial authorities (…) in connection with the assassination of journalist Jamal Kashoki,” he said in a statement.
“By fully verifying the identity of this person, we were able to confirm that the warrant did not apply to him” and “she was released,” he added.
Saudi security sources said on Tuesday that the suspect was the victim of an identification error.
The uprising comes three years after the shock of Kashoghi’s assassination, three days after French President Emmanuel Macron met the Saudi prince in Saudi Arabia.
He is a former close ally of Saudi power who has become a fierce opponent, and this journalist was assassinated in October 2018 by Saudi Arabian commando agents at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. His body has not yet been found.
Riyadh, who denied the killing, concluded that he had acted alone by Saudi agents. Five Saudis have been sentenced to death and three to life in prison after a transparent trial in Saudi Arabia.
A US intelligence report accuses MBS of “verifying” the assassination.