Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 March 2018

Saudi Arabia says Qatar continues to propagate hatred amid US efforts to resolve crisis

Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said that the Arab countries boycotting Doha 'want nothing but the end of terrorism'

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir addresses a press conference after meeting his Austrian counterpart in Vienna on February 19, 2018. Hans Punz / AFP
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir addresses a press conference after meeting his Austrian counterpart in Vienna on February 19, 2018. Hans Punz / AFP

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Qatar remains in a state of denial and continues to propagate hatred through its media amid efforts by Washington to resolve a dispute between the Gulf countries.

“The Qatar crisis is a small one compared to important issues in the region, and all we want is for [Doha] to stop using their media platforms to propagate hatred,” said Adel Al Jubeir during a lecture at the Egmont Institute in Brussels on Friday.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in June last year cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar over its support of extremists and interference in other countries’ affairs.

“Even though Qatar has signed agreements to stop supporting terrorism, that has still not completely happened,” he said.

“No doubt Qatar should transform from a state of denial to a state of realisation of the current situation it is living.”

Mr Al Jubeir reiterated that the Arab countries boycotting Qatar “want nothing but the end of terrorism”.

Meanwhile, a senior US official said that president Donald Trump will in the next couple of months meet with leaders from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the UAE's Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad are planning bilateral visits with Mr Trump in March and April, a senior US official said, according to Reuters.

The official said that the leaders will discuss setting up a Gulf Co-operation Council summit to be held later this year, the Middle East peace process and Iran.


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UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash also commented on the Qatar situation on Friday, saying that Doha’s state is becoming more difficult.

“Playing on contradictions and managing them, which has characterised Qatar’s policy, has become harder and costlier. Balancing between supporting the [Muslim] Brotherhood and other extremists … and relinquishing sovereignty to Iran and Turkey has become very difficult [for Doha],” tweeted Dr Gargash.

He also said that Qatar’s call for an EU-style security alliance that would include Iran and Turkey was “problematic”.

“First, it is an invitation by a secondary player and, second, it is counterproductive to Arabs’ [goals] and contradicts the American direction towards Tehran,” said the UAE official.

Last week, Mr Al Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia had no interest in taking part in any such alliance. He said such a structure already exists — referring to the GCC.

Mediation efforts by Kuwait and the US have so far failed to end the rift between Qatar and its neighbouring countries.

The four Arab countries stand firm by their decision to boycott Qatar, saying they are willing to re-establish communications with Doha only if it adheres to regional and international agreements and the demands and principles they have issued.

Doha has so far refused to meet the quartet’s 13 demands — including the closure of Qatar-owned Al Jazeera news channel, which the quartet says provides a platform for extremists and dissidents.