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Qatar crisis ‘may get worse’

Doha’s $4b foreign policy became a threat to Gulf states, diplomatic sources say

Gulf News

Dubai: A week after recalling their ambassadors from Doha, Gulf states are concerned that the crisis with Qatar might be prolonged and may even get worse, a Gulf diplomatic source said on Thursday.

“Qatar’s foreign policy is totally unrealistic. We realise they want to play an active role regionally that is way bigger than the small size of their country, but the policies they adopted, and cost them $4 billion annually, have become adventurous and even opportunities, jeopardising in the process the stability of fellow member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),” the diplomat told Gulf News on condition of anonymity.

On March 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar, saying Doha had failed to abide by an accord not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs.

The diplomatic source said Doha had in fact agreed verbally at meetings of Gulf foreign ministers in Kuwait late last year and Riyadh this month to abide by a GCC document, proposed by Saudi Arabia in which member states “pledge not to naturalize opponent of other governments or offer support to radical groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.”

However, the Qatari foreign minister refused to sign it.

"During the Riyadh meeting, the minister went out of the meeting to make a phone call. When he came back, he said he will not be signing,” the source said. The next day, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their envoys. In response, a Qatari official said his country “will not let go of its foreign policy, no matter what the pressures are.”

By supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, “which continues to pose a threat to Gulf states” and providing it with a medium like Al Jazeera TV station, Qatar’s foreign policy has become a threat to the stability to other GCC states, the diplomat said.

“And what is worrying is that we don’t see any sign that they are even reconsidering their position. I am worried the crisis will only get worse,” he added.

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