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Qatar emir quits Arab summit early, leaves Tunisia Open in fullscreen

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Qatar emir quits Arab summit early, leaves Tunisia

The Qatari emir left during a speech by the Arab League's secretary general [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 March, 2019

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A Tunisian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad had walked out during the speech of League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and "left Tunisia".

Qatar's emir has left an Arab League summit in Tunisia early, the Gulf state's official QNA news agency said Sunday, without giving details on why.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani quit the meeting "after attending the opening ceremony", it said, with no further details.

A Tunisian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Qatari leader had walked out during the speech of League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and "has left Tunisia".

Qatar has been under a land, air and sea blockade since bitter Gulf standoff that erupted in June 2017, when Saudi Arabia along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain severed ties with Doha. 

The Saudi-led bloc accuses Doha of supporting extremist groups and being too close to Iran, charges Qatar denies.

Last week, Sheikh Tamim assured his country had become "stronger" since the start of a Gulf diplomatic crisis almost two years ago, during the formal grand opening of the country's national museum.

"Qatar has become much stronger since June 2017," said the emir.

"The citizens have defended the dignity and the truth, with the consequences of strengthening the country."

In February, Qatar's emir visited Kuwait where he took part in talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah amid the ongoing Gulf crisis.

Sheikh Tamim told a Qatari conference in December that he hopes Kuwait - which along with Gulf state Oman has remained neutral in the crisis - could play a role in resolving the crisis.

"We still believe that dialogue can restore the relationship under the sovereignty of countries," he said at the opening of the 2018 Doha Forum.

"We continue to rely heavily on the role of Kuwait and the role of other countries in the region to overcome the crisis."

Kuwait has been a go-to country for allies of Qatar and the Saudi-bloc who have been hoping to resolve the crisis.

Qatar has managed to fend off the blockade, and has opened up its trade links to other countries including Oman and Turkey.

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