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

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Qatar’s EmirSheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thanihas 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 astatement.

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 theUnited Arab Emirates(UAE) cut off ties withQatarand 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 theMuslim 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’sHouthigroup.

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

Saudi Arabiasaid 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 thatdamaged four tankersnear the entrance to the Gulf, and thedrone attacks by Yemeni rebelson the Saudi oil pipeline.

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