x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE summons Qatari ambassador over Al Qardawi ‘insolence’

While the UAE is keen to maintain fraternal ties between the two countries, “we are obliged to take this unprecedented step … due to the failure of our brothers in Qatar to stop using their religious and media platforms to insult a brotherly and neighbourly country," said Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

ABU DHABI // The Qatari ambassador Faris Al Nuaimi was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday and handed a formal letter of protest over an attack on the UAE by the Islamist preacher Yousif Al Qaradawi.

The preacher’s “insolent and insulting” remarks were delivered in a mosque in Qatar and on its official television network, the state news ageny Wam reported.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, expressed the dismay of the Government and people of the UAE at such an attack through state TV in a “brotherly and neighbourly country”.

“We have patiently waited for our brothers and neighbours to clearly denounce such insolence and to provide explicit clarification and guarantees that such distortion and instigation will not happen again,” Dr Gargash said.

“Notwithstanding its full respect for freedom of opinion and expression, the UAE rejects any seditious and hateful speeches. Yet, and despite well-intentioned dialogue and self-restraint, we have observed neither the will nor the response from our brothers in Qatar.

“We have sought during the past few days to contain the issue through continuous top-level contacts between the two countries, but to no avail, except for an official statement that did not include any decisive denunciation of the contents of Al Qaradawi’s speech. Nor did it offer any guarantees that this will never happen again.”

Dr Gargash said the UAE was keen to maintain fraternal ties between the two countries and to avoid the sedition and division Mr Al Qaradawi sought to sow in the course of his campaign against the UAE.

“However,” he said, “we are obliged to take this unprecedented step … due to the failure of our brothers in Qatar to stop using their religious and media platforms to insult a brotherly and neighbourly country. We do not accept, under any excuses, this insult against the dignity of the UAE, its leadership and its people, and against its path and traditions.”

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