Visit signals Gulf healing

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RIYADH/LONDON, Nov 30, (RTRS): Qatar’s foreign minister has made an unannounced visit to Riyadh, two sources told Reuters, amid signs that a 2-1/2-year rift among US-allied Gulf Arab states could soon subside.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani met with senior Saudi officials last month, said one of the sources familiar with the trip, the highestlevel visit since May when Qatar’s prime minister attended an Arab summit in Makkah.

It was unclear if the visit, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, included a face-to-face with de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. US Senator Chris Murphy said the minister’s trip was “an important move that showed openness to some dialogue between the two sides”.

“At the very least, I think the Saudis seem sincere in trying to figure out the path forward,” he told Reuters during a trip to Bahrain. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of backing terrorism. Qatar denies the charge and accuses its neighbours of seeking to curtail its sovereignty.

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