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Qatar stays mum on UAE-Israel deal in Palestinian talks

Qatar kept mum on the UAE’s accord with Israel to normalise ties as it hosted senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat on Thursday.

Palestinian chief negotiator Erekat and Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani “discussed developments in the Palestinian arena”, an official statement said.

The minister “reaffirmed Qatar’s firm position in supporting the rights of the brotherly Palestinian people… and the Arab Peace Initiative”.

The statement made no mention of the accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced by US President Donald Trump on August 13.

Qatar is locked in a diplomatic standoff with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, which accuse it of supporting Islamic extremists and conniving with Iran. Doha denies the charges.

Doha has an on-off relationship with Israel, having hosted an Israeli economic interests office from 1996 until 2000.

It is also heavily invested in the Gaza Strip, funding welfare payments to the impoverished coastal territory with Israel’s blessing.

In 2019, Qatar, along with the UN and Egypt, brokered a Gaza truce.

Trump has made it a key goal for Washington’s wealthy Arab allies in the Gulf to cooperate with Israel as part of efforts to help contain Iran.

But Saudi Arabia has said it will not follow the UAE’s example until Israel has signed a peace deal with the Palestinians.

The Palestinians have condemned the US-brokered agreement as a “betrayal” of their cause.