Qatari royals in exile call for national meeting to end crisis
'My worst fear is that one day the Qatari citizen will become associated with terrorism,' Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim al-Thani
Renewed hope. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (L) and Qatari Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassem al-Thani at the king’s vacation home in Tangier. (Saudi Press Agency)
2017/09/24 Issue: 124 Page: 4
The Arab Weekly
London- Opposition towards Qatari government policies from within its royal family appears to be widening, with a second member of the al-Thani tribe calling for Doha to sever ties with terrorist organisations and resolve its disputes with neighbouring countries.
Paris-based Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim al-Thani appeared in a recorded segment on Sky News Arabia, endorsing calls by his uncle Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassem al-Thani for a national meeting to resolve the dispute with a Saudi-led quartet of countries.
“Our brothers in the Gulf and the Arab world have ostracised us because of fatal errors that were committed against them alongside ugly practices done against their existence,” Sheikh Sultan said, adding that Doha had become an incubator of those who corrupt and a platform to serve their agendas.
He said his “worst fear is that one day the Qatari citizen will become associated with terrorism. I am most fearful that we would be rejected from everyone worldwide, along with the rupture with our neighbouring countries.”
“I endorse all calls for a meeting hoping that all the members of the ruling family, distinguished members and thinkers to engage in this meeting so they can become one hand to protect Qatar from enemies and deserters,” Sheikh Sultan said.
Sheikh Abdullah called on the people of Qatar to unite to “be messengers of peace” to resolve the Gulf crisis.
“To my family, the dignitaries, the businessmen and all the people of Qatar, I invite you to meet to be messengers of wisdom and peace and advocates for uniting the hearts,” he wrote on his official Twitter account.
The Riyadh-based member of the Qatari royal family said the crisis was “getting worse, as it has reached a point of direct incitement against the stability of the Gulf and interference in others’ affairs, thus pushing us to a fate that we do not want to reach.”
“Our duty is not to remain silent in this crisis,” Sheikh Abdullah said before calling for a “national and family meeting to examine the crisis and return things to normal.”
He gave out his personal e-mail address and urged members of the royal family and the public in Qatar to contact him with inquiries and set a date for the meeting.
The developments come less than a week after a Qatari opposition meeting in London. The idea of exiled Qatari businessman and activist Khalid al-Hail, the conference involved members of Qatar’s opposition in exile gathered to highlight their grievances against the government in Doha.
“Uniting the Qatari opposition, as envisioned at the conference is a significant step in the right direction,” wrote Saudi writer Abdullah al-Otaibi in Al-Ittihad, an Emirati daily.
“The opposition can then focus on reaching out to international Western decision-makers, think-tanks and media outlets to provide a permanent platform for answering questions and providing information and analyses of Qatar’s political, economic and military decisions against the Qatari state or its people,” Otaibi wrote.
The coast guard of Bahrain, one of the countries that cut diplomatic ties with Doha over what was described as Qatar’s interference in their countries’ internal affairs and support for radical groups, announced that Qatar has seized three Bahraini boats with 16 sailors onboard during a three-day period.
“This raises the number of boats seized by Qatar to 15 and the number of sailors in its custody to 20,” Bahraini Coast Guard Commander Alaa Siyadi said. He urged Doha to show commitment to proper legal procedures in accordance with international conventions on maritime safety.
In June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt joined Bahrain in severing diplomatic ties with Doha. International mediation efforts have yet to yield tangible results.