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Amir saddened by regional dispute, expresses commitment to mediation
July 15, 2017, 4:15 pm
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His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah has expressed his deep sorrow and extreme concern over the ongoing dispute and subsequent rift in relations between Qatar and its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) neighbors, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as Egypt.

Nevertheless, His Highness the Amir said that he was determined to carry on with his mediation efforts. “We will not give up our historical responsibilities and we will remain committed to them until the negative developments are over and our skies are clear again,” said the Amir, following the latest round of mediation talks last week. He added that the support he continues to receive from all sides has eased the pain of developments and increased his determination to address them and to ensure that the progress and achievements made by the GCC should continue.

Last week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks in Jeddah with ministers from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE, as well as Kuwait, which is mediating in the dispute, on how to end their month-long rift with Qatar, but without any immediate breakthrough in the gridlock.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE severed diplomatic relations with Qatar on 5 June, accusing it of financing extremist groups and aligning with Iran, the Gulf Arab states' arch rival in the region. The four also imposed various economic sanctions and submitted over a dozen demands that Qatar had to comply with before sanctions could be removed, including curbing Qatar’s relations with Iran, closing the Al Jazeera TV channel, shutting a Turkish military base in Qatar and handing over all people designated as ‘terrorists’ who had sought sanctuary in Qatar.

Clarifying the issue, the UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said that there can be no permanent solution without addressing three fundamental issues. “The Qatar crisis is about the absence of trust; extremism and terrorism; and undermining regional stability. Ny solution must address all of the above,” he noted, adding, “A temporary solution is not a wise one.”

Piling additional pressure on Qatar, Cable News Network (CNN) published last week a previously secret accord between Riyadh and Doha that clearly shows Qatar as having broken signed pledges made in 2013 and 2014, not to interfere in the affairs of Gulf countries and Egypt.

The handwritten Riyadh Agreement signed in November 2013 by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah of Kuwait, and His Highness Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar, lays out the signatories’ commitments to avoid any interference in the internal affairs of other Gulf nations, including barring financial or political support to ‘deviant’ groups.

The agreement specifically mentions not supporting the Muslim Brotherhood as well as not backing opposition groups in Yemen that could threaten neighboring countries. The countries also vowed not to support antagonistic media.

In a supplementary Riyadh Agreement signed in November 2014, in the presence of the signatories to the 2013 Riyadh Agreement, as well as His Majesty King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the signatories mention their commitment to support Egypt’s stability, including preventing Al Jazeera from being used as a platform for groups or figures challenging the Egyptian government.

Meanwhile, the stalemate continues with a solution unlikely any time soon.

 

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