Tabnak – The diplomatic crisis between Qatar and a Saudi-led bloc of Arab countries is still ongoing with no clear resolution in sight. In a latest move, the Qatar opposition gathered in London – apparently by a Saudi initiative – to discuss the ways of replacing the current government in Doha.
As Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrives in Ankara on Thursday, Saudi news outlet Asharq Al-Awsat reports that Qatar’s opposition gathered in London a conference directly aimed at the current government in Doha.
According to the paper, in a statement issued on Wednesday, organizers said the conference’s schedule was set in great secrecy because of concerns that the Qatari government would try to foil the event and exert pressure on members of the British parliament to boycott it.
Spokesperson for the Qatari opposition, Khalid al-Hail said on wednesday that the conference would be divided into five main sessions: "Political Islam and terrorism support in Qatar, Qatar and Iran’s Foreign Policy: A Source for Regional Instability, Al Jazeera: Free Press vs. Voice of terror?, A Forbidden Debate: Qatar’s Aspirations for Global Prestige, Democracy and Human Rights, and finally, A Vicious Circle: Economy, Geopolitics and Global Energy Security.”
However, some news sources reported later on Thursday that the conference was actually became a venue to plot against Doha government. According to Fars News Agency, members of the opposition named Abdollah bin Ali Al Thani as their choice to replace Sheikh Tamim. He is known to have close contacts with the Saudi monarchy, including King Salman himself.
Meanwhile, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim visiteed Turkey on Thursday to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his first trip abroad since the start of the Gulf diplomatic crisis. Sheikh Tamim held talks on "bilateral ties and regional issues as well as international developments", Turkey's presidential office said in a statement.
Erdogan has been a major supporter of Doha since June 5, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties and blockaded Qatar, accusing it of backing "extremism" and fostering ties with their rival Iran.
Apart from Turkey, Iran has been providing Qatar with food supplies amid the Saudi-led economic siege of the country. It has also allowed Qatar's national carrier to use its airspace. The Islamic Republic has repeatedly underlined the need for dialogue among the Arab states to settle the dispute.
A number of attempts to heal the rift between Qatar and Saudi-led bloc have so far been made, but all to no avail, including those of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, whose country has been playing the role of a key mediator since the beginning of the crisis.
The move against Doha is spearheaded by Riyadh, which often manages to have its vassal states fall into line. Saudi Arabia itself is known as the main sponsor of Wahhabi terrorists it has accused Qatar of supporting. Some analysts believe the Saudi anger is rather because Qatar acts independently of Riyadh, including in its relations with Iran.