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Qatar renews call for emergency Gaza summit

Qatar renews call for emergency Gaza summit

Qatar's ruler renewed his call to host an emergency Arab summit about Gaza, even though the gathering was increasingly in doubt as Arab leaders are divided over how to deal with the conflict.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia are against an emergency summit in Doha on Friday, believing it could scuttle Egyptian efforts to broker a truce between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers.
Qatar's ruler Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said the purpose of the summit wasn't to sabotage truce efforts but to adopt a unified Arab position on Israel's offensive in the coastal strip, now in its 20th day.
"We understand the realities around us but we think that it is our duty to take a unified position and we can take effective measures," Hamad said in a statement to Qatar state television late Wednesday.
Hamad said Qatar initially got two-thirds of the 22 Arab League members to agree to the summit when the offer came up earlier this week, then lost the needed quorum. A quorum is necessary for the summit's resolutions to be binding for the League.
Hamad also pledged US$250 million for Gaza's reconstruction.
"Our call still stands," Hamad said. "Here we are, waiting for the sake of Gaza. The decision is up to the leaders."
In Syria, state-run media slammed Arab leaders who refuse to go to Doha. An editorial in the Tishrin daily singled out Egypt in its criticism, while government-run Al-Thawra newspaper described Thursday the Arab refusal as "unacceptable."
Meanwhile, an emergency summit of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, called by Saudi Arabia, is expected to take place in Riyadh later on Thursday.
Also, Arab foreign ministers will meet in Kuwait on Friday at a previously scheduled economic summit.
Arab League chief Amr Moussa said in Kuwait that only 13 Arab countries agreed to go to Doha while 15 are needed. Moussa said Iraq's foreign minister has informed him Iraq will not attend if there was no quorum for Doha.
More than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel's offensive started Dec. 27.
Israeli tanks shelled downtown Gaza City on Thursday and ground troops thrust deep into a crowded neighborhood for the first time in the operation.
Hamad also called for an immediate cease-fire and Israeli withdrawal, and said the Doha summit should reconsider Arab states' diplomatic and economic ties with Israel.
Qatar has ties with both Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas, and has hosted Israeli diplomats for the past 12 years even though it has no peace treaty with the Jewish state.


Updated : 2021-06-19 04:51 GMT+08:00