Qatar accused of not honouring accords

2014 commitments in Riyadh disregarded by Doha

Image Credit: Courtesy: Saudi Press Agency
Late Saudi king Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz with Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Tamim in Riyadh in 2014.
Gulf News

Gulf News Report

Dubai: One day before he is scheduled to board the plane and head to Kuwait on Wednesday for talks with Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani has come under a barrage of criticism from Saudi media amid claims that Qatar could not be trusted to honour its pledges.

Saudi reports said that the Qatari leader wanted Kuwait’s Emir to mediate and help him out of a delicate situation where he put himself through his “childish policies.”

“When Qatar seeks the mediation of Kuwait due to its growing isolation, we in Saudi Arabia have the deepest respect for Shaikh Sabah and for the people of Kuwait, but with regard to all the problems caused by Qatar and especially its non-respect of the Riyadh Declaration and accords in 2014, no mediation effort will be accepted,” Faheem Al Hamed wrote in Saudi daily Okaz on Tuesday. “The Saudi, Gulf and Arab collective consciousness is now fully aware of the negative policies by Qatar that oppose Arab solidarity, threaten the Gulf strategic security and embrace Iran’s terrorist regime.”

The Riyadh Declaration was an accord reached by the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to end the worst diplomatic spat since the establishment of their alliance in 1981.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE withdrew their ambassador from Qatar on March 5, 2014, to protest against the non-compliance of Qatar with the GCC principles and its interference in their domestic affairs. The decision to pull out the ambassador was taken by the three GCC states after they felt that Qatar did not commit itself to the spirit of an agreement reached months earlier. An ad hoc committee was set up to make sure that Qatar this time fully complied with the clauses of accord.

The ambassadors were reinstated in November, just a few days before the GCC summit was convened in Doha.

However, with the dramatic events unfolding last week, GCC countries feel that Qatar is reneging on its pledges.

Several political analysts, columnists and newspaper editorials recalled that Qatar had a history of not living up to its agreements.

UAE leading political analyst, Abdul Khalq Abdullah, said “Qatar committed itself to the minimum of the 2014 Riyadh Declaration and not to the maximum agreed upon among the GCC countries. Doha has therefore lost credibility because it failed to keep its promises.”

Riyadh Declaration in 2014, he added, called for putting an end to incitement in the media through the Qatar-based and funded TV network, Al Jazeera and other outlets, but these outlets continued to incite even more than before. “We have, however, seen a slight improvement in the language used by Al Jazeera,” said Abdullah.

Moreover, Riyadh Declaration demanded that Qatar stop funding and playing host to terrorist organisations, “but leaders of these terrorist groups are still living there and the funding has been maintained … Had that funding stopped these groups would have ceased to work,” he said.

“The only progress made by Doha on that front was that a number of leaders of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood had left Doha,” Dr Abdullah said, pointing out that the Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yousuf Al Qaradawi has also stopped his insults against the GCC countries for a while.

Dr Abdullah called on Qatar to return to the Gulf fold. “Doha needs to know that there is a war and in that war it has to side by the GCC or pay a dear price for staying on the wrong side of history,” he warned.

Others analysts and commentators shared similar view.

“No meditation effort from Kuwait or other parties will succeed, unless Qatar changes its provocative policies,” said Mohammad Al Hammadi, Editor-in-Chief of Al Etihad newspaper.

He said Qatar failed to keep its commitments under the Riyadh Declaration.

‘For the Qataris, the declaration was not worth the paper it’s written on…..After three years of broken promises …. Doha must adopt clear policies and stop its interference in the affairs of the Gulf and Arab countries (and) its support for terrorist organisations and its role in dividing the Palestinians through supporting Hamas.”

Side bar:

Clauses of the 2014 Riyadh Declaration

To put an end to interfering in the domestic affairs of other GCC countries

Not to naturalise the citizens of fellow GCC countries

To deport all elements who are legally wanted, particularly the members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

To put an end to incitement in the Qatari media

To put an end to any support to the Muslim Brotherhood

Not to allow religious figures to use Qatari mosques and media to incite against other GCC countries

To put an end to inciting against Egypt

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