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Qatar emir in surprise Saudi visit: TV

File - Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani smiles as he is welcomed upon arriving at Khartoum Airport for an official visit April 2, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia: The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, arrived unexpectedly in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks on regional issues with King Abdullah, Al-Arabiya television said.

The Saudi-owned news channel said the Qatari leader was in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, "to discuss developments in the region".

The visit comes amid intensifying efforts to end 15 days of violence between the Israeli army and militants in the Gaza Strip, which is largely controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas.

Relations between Doha and Riyadh remain tense after sinking to a new low in March when Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates pulled their envoys from Qatar, accusing it of meddling in their affairs.

Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement of Egypt's former president Mohammed Morsi who was ousted by the army in July 2013, has infuriated the Gulf states that fully backed the then military-installed government. 

Egypt has proposed a ceasefire in Gaza followed by indirect talks.

But Hamas has said it would not accept the Egyptian proposal, insisting instead on firm commitments first to end Israel's eight-year blockade of the coastal enclave.

Hamas has also sought a role for Turkey and Doha in the efforts to reach a truce.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon stopped in Doha on Monday as he began a regional tour to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.

 

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