Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has received a written invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Salmane to attend an annual Gulf Arab summit being held in Riyadh on 9 Dec.
Qatar is locked in a bitter dispute with Saudi Arabia that has fractured the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and it has not said what level of representation it will send to the gathering of heads of state.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and non-GCC member Egypt have imposed diplomatic, trade and transport sanctions on Qatar since June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charge.
At last year’s GCC summit, held in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain sent ministers or deputy prime ministers, rather than heads of state.
The invite from the Saudi king comes a day after Qatar abruptly announced it was quitting OPEC after 57 years to focus on gas in an apparent swipe at the oil-producing bloc’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia.