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Qatar crisis is a non-issue, says Saudi foreign minister

‘If we can change Qatari behaviour we will be stronger in the GCC and we can confront Iran and terrorism’

Image Credit: AFP
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir
Gulf News

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said that the Qatar crisis was a “non-issue, a small issue” and that there were “other matters to focus on.”

In remarks at Chatham House, Al Jubeir said that Qatar needed to change its attitudes for the sake of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the regional alliance that comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates established in 1981.

“If we can change Qatari behaviour we will be stronger in the GCC and we can confront Iran and terrorism,” he said at the meeting on Tuesday.

Asked if there were red lines, the Saudi minister said that “it all lies with Qatar.”

“We are saying no to funding terrorism,” he said, stressing that it was “unacceptable that media platforms condone bombings.”

He added that “Qatar must first acknowledge it has a problem in order for them to solve it.”

On June 5, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt severed their diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremists and of funding terrorism. The Quartet issued a list for 13 demands for Qatar to meet before the two sides could iron out their differences. Doha rejected the demands.

Fellow GCC member Kuwait has offered its mediation, but so far no incremental progress or even a breakthrough has been achieved.

The leaders of the GCC states are scheduled to meet in Kuwait in December, but reports have emerged that the annual summit could be postponed by six months, cancelled or shifted to another venue.

In the Bahraini capital Manama, Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Bin Rashid Al Zayani, dismissed a statement attributed to him on the crisis with Qatar, saying there was no truth to it.

The position is consistent with regard to this issue, and Qatar bears the consequences through its departure from the GCC constants not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and to reject terrorism and extremism, he said.

The minister added in his statement carried by the official news agency that the crisis with Qatar would be resolved if Doha complied with the demands of Bahrain and its brothers in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

The consequences of the intransigent Qatari position will not stand in the way of short- and long-term development plans, he said.

Trade and economy have been growing and there was no significant effect during the crisis in the anti-terrorism Quartet, the minister added.

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