Saudi names first Qatar ambassador in six years

Saudi Arabia has named an ambassador to Qatar for the first time since recalling its top envoy from the neighbouring Gulf state six years ago, a Saudi diplomat said on Thursday.

Saudi names first Qatar ambassador in six years

Ahmad bin Ali al-Kahtani, now ambassador to Syria, "has been nominated to serve as the kingdom's ambassador in Doha", the Saudi charge d'affaires in the Qatari capital, Ali Kazzaz, said.

Kazzaz said he could not tell when Kahtani would take up his new post, but it would be soon.

The move comes amid strains in Saudi-Syrian ties over the political crisis in Lebanon, where Saudi Arabia backs a ruling coalition pitted against an opposition.

It was not clear if Riyadh would immediately replace Kahtani in Damascus.

Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Doha in 2002 when the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel aired a debate in which participants strongly criticised the Saudi royal family.

Qatar kept an ambassador in Saudi Arabia.

Ties have thawed between the two wealthy neighbours, with Saudi King Abdullah attending a Gulf summit in Doha in December, three months after Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, visited him in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Kazzaz told the Qatari daily Al-Arab that Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz would also visit Doha within days.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Şubat 2008, 16:06