Rise of terror group meant ‘search for a political solution to the Syria crisis was needed more than ever’
Saudi Arabia is to host a meeting of foreign ministers from several Arab states to discuss the Syrian conflict and the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), Egypt’s foreign ministry announced yesterday.
It said Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were to take part in today’s talks to be held in Jeddah.
The meeting will address “the growing presence in Iraq and Syria of extremists, notably the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil),” the ministry said in a statement.
It added that the rise of Isil meant the “search for a political solution to the Syria crisis was needed more than ever”.
Since declaring a “caliphate” in June, Isil has conducted a lightning offensive, taking control of territory straddling Iraq and Syria.
The jihadists sparked worldwide horror and condemnation last week when they released a video showing the beheading of US journalist James Foley.
Saudi foreign ministry spokesman Osama Nugali told AFP that a “meeting between some Arab states will be held tomorrow [Sunday] to discuss some Arab issues,” without elaborating.
However, a Gulf source told Al Khaleej newspaper that the countries will discuss Egypt and the changes taking place there and to take a unified stance on the country.
The source also pointed to the importance of the meeting, the subject, and its timing, stressing Egypt’s security is vital for GCC countries and the whole Arab region. So it is essential to back Egypt as a nation and its people now and in the future and to assist it in regaining its role in all spheres.
The goal is to reach a unified stand at the least, the source said, adding that the stance of all these countries are in favour of Egypt, except for Qatar which has been sending mixed signals through the Al Jazeera channel which still describes the July 30 revolution that laid out a roadmap for presidential elections and brought Abdul Fattah Al Sissi to power, as an uprising.
Al Khaleej was also privy to the fact that today’s meeting is not related to the crisis in the relations between Qatar and its neighbours, because the meeting was planned in advance despite the fact that it is taking place at the height of the crisis.
On Friday Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will today discuss the report of a committee tasked with overseeing the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement and decide on the next steps to be taken as they contemplate their diplomatic relations with Qatar.
Qatar on Wednesday reportedly refused to sign the final report prepared by a technical committee set up by the GCC to monitor the implementation of the agreement to end the diplomatic crisis.
However, the Gulf source did not rule out that outstanding issues between Egypt and Qatar may be discussed and also related to the crisis of Qatar with its neighbours on matters such as Qatar harbouring a number of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Doha that are wanted in Egypt.
Success of roadmap
These leaders are on top of the banned list that are a part of the Riyadh agreement that will be followed up by GCC foreign ministers on August 30 in Jeddah.
Doha stopped all forms of assistance to Egypt after the success of its revolution.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia on the other hand were in the forefront of countries backing Egypt for the success of the roadmap and to stand in solidarity with the Egyptian people.
The support started by allocating $8 billion (Dh29.39 billion) as assistance and deposits, while the UAE continued its support through a package of investment, housing, and energy projects and through official and mutual visits.