October 10, 2017 / 9:58 AM / 9 days ago

Qatar's emir to visit Malaysia in mid-October

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/Files

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will visit Muslim-majority Malaysia this month on a two-day state visit amid a crisis with some neighbouring Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, with which Malaysia has close relations.

The emir will visit Malaysia on Oct 15-16, according to Malaysia’s information department.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting regional foe Iran and Islamists, charges Qatar’s leaders deny.

Last month, Qatar’s emir renewed a call “for an unconditional dialogue based on mutual respect for sovereignty”.

The emir’s visit to Malaysia comes nearly eight months after Malaysia rolled out the red carpet for Saudi Arabia’s King Salman at the end of February, the first by a Saudi king in more than a decade.

Oil major Saudi Aramco agreed to invest $7 billion in Malaysian state energy firm Petronas’ downstream project during King Salman’s visit.

Malaysia has had friendly relations with both Qatar and Saudi Arabia, putting it in a tough spot following the breakdown of ties between Qatar and the Arab states.

Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi and Emily Chow; Editing by Nick Macfie

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