Are Saudi Arabia and the UAE trying to spoil the Qatari Emir’s UK state visit?

Emir Tamim of Qatar

Saudi Arabia and the UAE appear to be trying to scupper the Qatari Emir’s state visit to the UK.

Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani was met with protests as he arrived at the Houses of Parliament in London this morning and adverts criticising Qatar have started to appear throughout the city.

The protests outside the British parliament were accompanied by a number of vans decorated with the slogan “Qatar is a terrorist state” that have roamed London in the days leading up to the visit.

Protestors also waved posters proclaiming: “If a country was accused of paying $1 billion in a ransom to terrorist groups then why is the UK government rolling out the red carpet for the Qatar Emir?”

The protesters also denounced “Qatar’s support for terrorism, armed militias, and terror groups, including Muslim Brotherhood.”

Meanwhile, Qatari channel Al Jazeera reported that a casting agency in the UK offered actors £20 to take part in an “anti-Qatar event” outside a meeting between the ruler of the Gulf peninsula country and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

According to several emails screenshotted and uploaded to Reddit, Twitter and Facebook; extras were offered £20 to take part in the protest on Tuesday.

“This is NOT a film or TV production,” casting agency Extra People said in an email to their actors. The company are looking for a large group of people to fill space outside Downing Street during the visit of the president of Quatar (sic). This is an ANTI-Qatar event – You will not have to do or say anything, they just want to fill space. You will be finished at 12:30.”

The Qatari emir’s visit to the UK comes more than a year after the UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, imposed a land, air and sea blockade against Qatar and severed ties with it, in one of the Gulf’s worst diplomatic dispute in decades.

The quartet have expressed their displeasure over Qatar’s foreign policy, and urged the country to “change its direction”.

According to several media reports, the four countries want Qatar to normalise relations with Israel, and develop a regional alliance against Iran.

Qatar’s emir has denounced all attempts to infringe on the sovereignty of the Gulf nation and rejected all of their demands.

Qatari media is reporting that the current official visit of the Emir Tamim to the United Kingdom “is an extension of the historic friendship and alliance between the two friendly countries.”

According to The Peninsula, “The bilateral relations between Doha and London have strengthened and grown steadily over the years, from the early days of oil and gas exploration in the Gulf region, where British companies have played a key role in the development of the oil and gas industry in the State of Qatar and the region. These relations have expanded to include bilateral cooperation in all fields, especially political, economic, commercial, defense, cultural and educational spheres.”

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