Qatar’s ‘fake news’ punctures reconciliation hopes

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, right. (AFP)
Updated 10 September 2017
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Qatar’s ‘fake news’ punctures reconciliation hopes

JEDDAH: Euphoria generated by Friday’s phone call between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was punctured within minutes by distorted news reports from the state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA).
During the phone conversation, which was requested by the Qatari emir, Doha expressed its desire to sit at the table and discuss the demands of the four countries that comprise the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) to ensure the interests of all.
The crown prince welcomed Sheikh Tamim’s desire to mend fences.
The details were to be announced later after Saudi Arabia concluded an understanding with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, the other three members of the ATQ.
Minutes later, however, QNA published a distorted version of the phone call, prompting Saudi Arabia to suspend all communications with Qatar.
“What the Qatar News Agency published did not have any relevance to truth, and what was published by the Qatar News Agency is a continuation of the distortion by the Qatari authority of the facts,” a Saudi official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Qatari doublespeak and chicanery are among the reasons that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Doha in June. They accused Qatar of supporting regional extremist organizations and terrorist groups, and want the country to change its policies as a condition for dialogue.
Qatar’s distortion of the facts “clearly shows that the Qatari authority has not yet understood that Saudi Arabia is not ready at all to tolerate the change by the Qatari authority of agreements and facts. This is evident in the distortion of the content of the contact received by the crown prince from the emir of Qatar, minutes after its completion,” said the ministry official.
“The contact was at the request of Qatar and its request for dialogue with the four countries on the demands, and because this proves that the authority in Qatar is not serious in dialogue and continues its previous policies, Saudi Arabia declares that any dialogue or communication with the authority in Qatar shall be suspended until a clear statement explaining its position is made in public and its public statements are in conformity with its obligations.
“The Kingdom affirms that the floundering of the Qatari policy does not enhance the confidence needed for dialogue,” the ministry official added.
The call between the Saudi crown prince and Qatari emir came a day after US President Donald Trump offered to serve as a mediator to help resolve the dispute.
The White House on Friday said Trump spoke separately to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and to the leaders of the UAE and Qatar to convey the message that unity among Washington’s Arab partners was essential to promoting regional stability and countering the threat of Iran.
“The president also emphasized that all countries must follow through on commitments… to defeat terrorism, cut off funding for terrorist groups, and combat extremist ideology,” it said.
One Middle East analyst observed: “Like so many times in the past, Qatar turned the breeze of hope into a heap of ash in a matter of minutes, through subterfuge.”


Saudi graduates urged to turn ideas into investment projects

Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman on Wednesday patronized the graduation ceremony of 3,384 Taibah University students for the academic year 2017-2018. (SPA)
Updated 1 min 50 sec ago
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Saudi graduates urged to turn ideas into investment projects

  • Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman called on graduates to benefit from bodies that support small enterprises and turn ideas into investment projects

JEDDAH: Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman on Wednesday patronized the graduation ceremony of 3,384 Taibah University students for the academic year 2017-2018.

Integrating graduates into the labor market and giving them suitable job opportunities are the responsibility of the province’s public- and private-sector officials, he said, urging the combining of efforts to enable graduates to contribute to the Kingdom’s development.

He called on graduates to benefit from bodies that support small enterprises and turn ideas into investment projects.

Taibah University President Abdul Aziz Al-Sarani thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their care and support for students, academic initiatives, and the development of the education sector.

“Taibah University seeks to adopt the latest developments and highest international academic standards for developing and implementing academic programs, supporting students and empowering them, and achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030” reform plan, he said.

Following the recent International Conference on Humanizing Cities, the university has decided to launch the Prince Faisal bin Salman award for humanizing cities, Al-Sarani added.

On behalf of all the graduates, one of them said in a speech: “After four years of memories, wonderful work and great effort, we graduate today to serve our country with our creative skills and great faith.”

At the end of the ceremony, Prince Faisal honored the winners of the Ambassadors of Moderation competition and first-class honor students.