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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

UAE accuses Qatar of crushing optimism for crisis breakthrough

Dr Anwar Gargash said Qatar must address the main issue — its support of extremist groups — if it wants to end the GCC stalemate

Dr Anwar Gargash said the short-lived optimism after Emir of Qatar's phone call to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince was crushed by Doha’s “naive” reaction in the media. In this picture, taken on July 17, 2017, he is speaking at an event at Chatham House in London. Neil Hall / Reuters
Dr Anwar Gargash said the short-lived optimism after Emir of Qatar's phone call to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince was crushed by Doha’s “naive” reaction in the media. In this picture, taken on July 17, 2017, he is speaking at an event at Chatham House in London. Neil Hall / Reuters

The UAE accused Qatar of crushing the short-lived optimism that came after a phone call between the emir of Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that talks with Qatar had been suspended and accused Doha of issuing "false reports", just after the emir, Sheikh Tamim, called Prince Mohammed to initiate dialogue to resolve the dispute.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, said the reports in Qatari media “interrupted our optimism for a real breakthrough” and that meant Qatar was now in a “worse situation.”

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Read more:

Saudi Arabia suspends talks with Qatar over ‘false reports’

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The issue appears to be a dispute over protocol — specifically over how Qatar News Agency failed to mention that it was Doha that had initiated the call on Friday.

A Saudi foreign ministry source said Doha was not being "serious" when the agency failed to report that it was Sheikh Tamim who made the call to Prince Mohammed.

"Qatar knows the demands we’ve put forward, and we need them to be serious when it comes to resolving this crisis, so that we could all agree on these principals, such as not financing terrorism, spreading extremism or intervening in the affairs of other countries," said Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel Al Jubeir on Sunday.

He was speaking next to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, who called for the unity of the GCC, which has been shaken by the Qatar crisis. Mr Lavrov also offered his support for the mediation efforts led by Sheikh Sabah, the emir of Kuwait.

The contact between Sheikh Tamim and Prince Mohammed came after Donald Trump called on Friday the Saudi crown prince, Sheikh Tamim and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

"The President underscored that unity among the United States’ Arab partners is essential to promoting regional stability and countering the threat of Iran,” the White House said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut all diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5 over allegations it was supporting terrorists. Doha denies the accusations.

Dr Gargash said Doha must realise that the crisis — now in its fourth month — was a result of it supporting extremist groups and a result of it conspiring against its Arab neighbours.

“We, in the UAE, seek a real solution that will protect the region from policies that have dragged the Gulf and Arabs into chaos and violence,” Dr Gargash, said on twitter on Saturday.

He accused Qatar of selling its “sovereignty cheaply” and said Saudi Arabia plays an important role “in our joint quest to find a solution”.

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Read more: UAE confirms solution to Qatar crisis is based on diplomacy

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“I hope that [Doha] will start to work transparently in public and private, because there is no other way, but the shortest one, which is honesty with Riyadh,”

He also said Qatar was trying to “drive a wedge between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi through its naive media”.

“It is a regrettable approach because it will not work and because it ignores the main problem.”