Qatari emir, MBS discuss environmental challenges in phone call

Qatar’s emir and Saudi crown prince discuss clean energy and green initiatives for the region in a telephone conversation.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, and Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani discussed the Green Saudi and Green Middle East initiatives [File: Fayez Nureldine/AFP]

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have had a phone conversation in which they discussed environmental issues, including the development of clean energy.

The two leaders on Monday discussed the Green Saudi and Green Middle East initiatives, both of which were announced by Saudi Arabia, reported Qatar’s News Agency (QNA).

They also discussed the importance of joint action across the region in the face of environmental challenges.

Sheikh Tamim expressed his support for the initiatives and other efforts that would achieve environmental goals, according to reports.

Saudi Arabia intends to launch two initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions and curbing pollution and land degradation.

Prince Mohammed, popularly known as MBS, said the Green Saudi Initiative aims to plant 10 billion trees in the country over the coming decades. It also aims to reduce carbon emissions through renewable energy projects that will provide 50 percent of electricity production by 2030, according to the Saudi News Agency.

Riyadh will also work with other Arab countries on an initiative to plant another 40 billion trees across the Middle East as part of one of the largest reforestation programmes in the world, according to reports.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar began to thaw earlier this year after they reached a reconciliation deal and lifted an air, land and sea blockade imposed on Qatar by fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain as well as non-GCC member Egypt.

In June 2017, the blockading countries had accused Qatar, among other things, of “supporting terrorism” and being too close to Iran; they severed economic and diplomatic ties in a freeze that lasted till this year.

Qatar had repeatedly denied the allegations and said there was “no legitimate justification” for the severance of relations.

Source: Al Jazeera