At UN, Qatar prioritises defensive rhetoric over search for resolution to crisis

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reiterated the quartet’s stance about the fundamentals of the dispute with Qatar.

2017/09/24 Issue: 124 Page: 1

The Arab Weekly
Mohammed Alkhereiji

London- Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s speech at the UN General Assembly, painting Qatar as a victim of a boycott and calling on other countries to reach out to Iran, has not advanced the prospects of a solution to the re­gional crisis.

UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahy­an reiterated the Gulf countries stance on the dispute.

“We must demonstrate zero toler­ance to those who spread violence, fear and destruction among inno­cent people, and those who provide support and safe haven to terrorist groups,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

“The sovereign measures taken by my country in cooperation with its close allies serve this purpose. They are consistent with inter­national law and are intended to protect Arab national security and counter Qatar’s support for terror­ism.”

“I’m sure we can find a solution for this problem,” Sheikh Tamim told US President Donald Trump. However, he offered no indication as to what he intends to do to help reach such a solution.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Doha in early June over its alleged support for radical groups, many with ties to Iran. Shiekh Tamim’s call for an outreach with Tehran could not be more ill-timed for Kuwait, which dismantled an Iran-backed terror cell earlier this year.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the General Assembly of his concerns about Qatar without naming it directly.

“It is impossible to envisage a fu­ture for the regional or international order without a definitive and com­prehensive confrontation with ter­rorism,” Sisi said.

“This should be approached in a manner that eradicates terrorism and eliminates its roots and causes, in addition to openly challenging any party that supports or finances terrorism or that grants it political, media forums or safe havens.”

Following a meeting on the side­lines of the UN General Assembly with his counterparts from Sau­di Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said those countries were ready for a political solution to the crisis, provided “Qatar meets the 13 requirements and approves the six principles.”

“We seek normal relations and that Qatar refrains from supporting and financing terrorism and inter­fering in the internal affairs of the four countries,” Shoukry was quot­ed by the Egyptian state-run news agency MENA as saying.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reiterated the quartet’s stance about the fundamentals of the dispute with Qatar.

“Qatar supports terrorist organi­sations and extremist militias, these matters are known to everyone. Documents and evidence have been provided,” Jubeir told Al Arabiya TV.

“There are individuals wanted by the UN, the US and other countries for their support for terrorism and they live a good life in Qatar,” he said, adding that a solution to the crisis will be a Gulf one.

Mohammed Alkhereiji is the Arab Weekly’s Gulf section editor.

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