Qatar emir to tour Latin America

Doha (AFP) –


Qatar's emir is to start a tour of Latin American countries on Monday, the emirate's official news agency QNA reported, as Doha seeks new alliances in the face of a Gulf blockade.

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is to meet the presidents of Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay to "discuss ways of strengthening relations and bilateral cooperation in various fields", QNA said Saturday, without specifying the duration of the tour.

Doha has been working to build new alliances since a diplomatic crisis broke out in June 2017, pitting it against a bloc led by Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a sweeping embargo on the gas-rich emirate, sparking the worst rift within the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The four countries accuse Doha of seeking closer ties with Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran and of supporting radical Islamist groups.

Qatar denies the charges, accusing its neighbours of seeking regime change.