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Qatar pledges to end naturalisation of GCC citizens: Report

Riyadh Agreement implementation committee to end its work within a week

Gulf News

Dubai: Qatar has pledged not to host extremist groups and movements and to stop granting its citizenship to GCC nationals as part of an agreement with fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries, a Gulf diplomat reportedly said.

“There have been positive steps from Qatar in the last few days in its attempt to contain its differences with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain,” the diplomat, who was not identified, told London-based pan-Arab daily Al Sharq Al Awsat. “The ambassadors’ crisis is still pending, but it could witness a breakthrough next week in case Qatar pledges to end its media content and messages that the other Gulf countries see as against their interests in the violence-plagued region,” he said.

An unprecedented crisis erupted within the GCC, the loose alliance of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, last year amid accusations that Doha was pursuing a policy that differed from the stances of the other member countries.

In November last year, an accord was reached to have Qatar change its policies and bring them more in line with those of its fellow members.

However, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE on March 5 said that Qatar did not comply with the accord and pulled their ambassadors from Doha, citing grievances that included interference in their domestic affairs and supporting groups that were intent on undermining stability and security in the Gulf.

Qatar rejected the charges and said that it was fully committed to the principles and objectives of the GCC, set up in 1981.

A new accord, achieved mainly thanks to the mediation of the Kuwaiti Emir, was reached in the Saudi capital Riyadh on April 17.

The GCC countries pledged to honour the Riyadh Agreement and a committee made up of representatives from the six member countries was set up to follow up on its implementation.

The works of the committee remained mostly secret and no information about them has been leaked. However, statements by Gulf officials and media reports offered contrasting assessments about the first reports.

While some talked about an imminent breakthrough in the diplomatic crisis, others said that the divergences were too wide to overcome easily.

Saudi Arabia insisted that the ambassadors would not be reinstated until Qatar fully complied with the Riyadh Agreement.

Bahrain on two occasions issued statements calling for an end to the naturalisation of some of its well-established Arab families by Qatar authorities.

On Wednesday, the GCC foreign ministers meeting in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah said that they looked forward to the full implementation of the agreement within one week.

It was the first time since April that a deadline was announced publicly for reaching an accord.

The diplomatically worded statement by the GCC Secretary-General Abdul Lateef Al Zayani at the end of the meeting attended by all GCC foreign ministers was interpreted as an ultimatum to Qatar.

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