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The New Arab

Qatar troops take part in Saudi Arabia military exercise despite Gulf crisis

Saudi Arabia concluded the military exercise involving 24 nations on Monday [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 April, 2018

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Qatari troops have taken part in military exercises in Saudi Arabia, despite a blockade imposed on the emirate by its neighbours, Qatari state media has reported.

Qatari troops have taken part in military exercises in Saudi Arabia, despite a blockade imposed on the emirate by its neighbours, Qatari state media has reported.

Qatar's chief of staff attended the conclusion of the month-long war games, dubbed Gulf Shield-1, at the invitation of his Saudi counterpart, QNA said in a statement on Wednesday.

"A number of officers of the Qatari armed forces… participated in the exercise, held at Ras al-Khair," the statement said.

"The exercise featured a number of stages, including command centres drill and field training," it added.

Saudi Arabia concluded the military exercise involving 24 nations on Monday, with King Salman in attendance.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke off relations with Doha in June, accusing it of fostering close links with Tehran and supporting Islamist extremists - a charge Qatar strongly denies.

The crisis is the worst to hit the Gulf, home to both the world's largest exporters of oil and natural gas.

Tensions have eased slightly in recent months with Qatar sending its representative to an Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia last week.

The Saudi-led block refused to discuss the Gulf dispute during the meeting of Arab leaders in the eastern Saudi city of Dhahran.

"The solution of Qatar will be within the GCC," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said, referring to the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council.

US President Donald Trump had initially supported the economic blockade on Qatar, but aides - mindful of the pivotal role that the Al Udeid Air Base outside Doha plays - have since convinced him to take a more moderate approach.

During a phone call between Trump and Saudi King Salman earlier this month, Trump reportedly struck a "forceful tone" and demanded swift action to end the conflict.

Doha has long called for dialogue to end the dispute, which has been shunned by Saudi Arabia and its partners.

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