Dubai: The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has tweeted how His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, helped Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani avoid the wrath of late Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz in 2014.
The episode was narrated by Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US from 1983 to 2005 and director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, in a five-part interview with Independentarabia website.
In the fourth part, posted late on Tuesday, Prince Bandar recalled some of the events that unfolded at the GCC summit in 2014.
“Months after Shaikh Tamim came to power, Qatar’s growing support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its role in the events of the Arab Spring, and the decision by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain to withdraw their ambassadors from Doha in protest of Doha’s policies, the GCC Summit was convened by King Abdullah in Riyadh in 2014,” Bandar said.
“Tamim told the Gulf leaders that they should not hold him responsible for anything that happened before his rule began. During the talks, King Abdullah addressed Tamim, telling him: ‘My son, we would like to know about your policies and whether they would be a continuation of old policies and those of your father. You are here among fathers and brothers. Feel free to say what you want. We set up the ministerial committee and they have drafted a multi-point agreement. All of them have endorsed it. Have you read it?’ Shaikh Tamim acquiesced, so King Abdullah asked him if he approved it. The Qatari Emir answered in the affirmative. King Abdullah responded ‘Great. May God bring you good tidings!’ But, suddenly, Tamim said ‘however,’ and King Abdullah reacted by saying ‘There is a however!’” Bandar said.
According to the Saudi prince, the UAE delegation, and specifically Shaikh Mohammad, felt the meeting risked getting off track because of Shaikh Tamim’s retraction.
“The UAE delegation comprised of [His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed, who stood up, walked to Shaikh Tamim and whispered something in his ear before going back to his chair. The late King Abdullah commented ‘We are resorting to whispering!’ Tamim said he wanted to say something. ‘I am with you and do not hold me accountable for what happened in the past. You hold me accountable from the day I started my rule. With the will of God, I will not deviate from the views of the brothers and group [referring to the GCC leaders]’. When we left the summit hall, King Abdullah asked me to ask Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed about what happened and about the whispering. I asked him, ‘Abu Khalid, what was that? He said: I told him ‘Heed my words Tamim. Do not play any game with King Abdullah and do not lose Saudi Arabia. If you have any observations on the agreement, speak out now; otherwise and if you have no comments, endorse the agreement and do not oppose it.’”
Gargash posted on his account that he had witnessed the episode.