Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salma. FILE PHOTO

Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salma. FILE PHOTO

Saudi Crown Prince Starts Tour Of Gulf Arab States


Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman starts a tour of Gulf Arab states on Monday ahead of an annual Gulf summit, amid nuclear talks with Iran.

Prince Mohammed will visit Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported. Oman will be the first leg of the tour.

It would be the crown prince's first trip to neighboring Qatar since Riyadh and its Arab allies imposed an embargo on Doha in mid-2017.

Al Arabiya said the summit of Gulf Arab leaders would be held in the Saudi capital Riyadh in mid-December.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have engaged with long-time foe Iran in a bid to contain regional tensions as indirect talks between Washington and Tehran to revive the 2015 nuclear pact drag.

The latest round of talks with Iran ended on December 3 without any results, leading to dismay among Western powers. Persian Gulf Arab states saw the 2015 nuclear deal as flawed for not addressing Tehran's missiles program and network of regional proxies.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince starts his regional tour on the same day that the UAE's top national security adviser is expected to Iran.

Saudi Arabia in April launched direct talks with Iran, to reduce tensions. Riyadh has described the discussions, held in Iraq, as largely exploratory.

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