Manama: Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yousuf Bin Alawi has stressed the region was unlikely to see a solution to the Gulf crisis anytime soon.
The standoff pitting Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt against Qatar is not “eligible for solution”, he said during a lecture on Oman’s foreign policy in Muscat.
Oman is monitoring the situation and is working, through its position as the current GCC president, on maintaining the minimum level of technical work and commitments within the six-member alliance, Bin Alawi said.
“We will preserve whatever we can.”
The GCC, established in 1981, comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The crisis erupted on June 5, 2017 when the Quartet cut off their diplomatic, travel and trade relations with Qatar after they accused it of supporting extremists and financing terrorism.
The Quartet issued a list of 13 demands and asked Doha to comply with them.
However, Qatar rejected the accusations and turned down the list, resulting in a standoff and the worst crisis within the alliance.
Mediation efforts exerted mainly by Kuwait and supported by the US have failed to make any breakthrough amid growing sentiments that the crisis would last much longer than expected.
Upon taking over the rotating GCC presidency in December, Oman sought to add some weight to the mediation efforts and Bin Alawi visited the other five GCC countries.
His statement in Muscat this week seemed to indicate that there is no glimmer of hope to end the crisis soon.
“The crisis is much deeper than many have believed,” Mohammad Basri, an analyst in Bahrain said. “Traditionally, GCC disputes were resolved amicably and within days or weeks. But this time, the situation is grave and needs strong willpower and bold steps have to be taken,” he told Gulf News.
Hamad Al Amer, a Bahraini former foreign ministry undersecretary for the GCC, said that the unprecedented Qatar crisis was compounded by a high level of tension that has been exacerbated by harsh media campaigns.
“The hostility in the media built a spirit without regard for the fraternal, family and tribal relations between people in different Gulf states,” he said
“There was no consideration for the strong political and economic relations between the GCC countries, which were established in 1981 on the important principles of clarity, mutual respect, respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs. The situation descended into further ambiguity and complexity when regional and international parties became involved.”
In his lecture, Bin Alawi said that ‘the Deal of The Century’ promoted by the US administration would require an independent Palestinian state.
“The Americans will be unable to execute the ‘Deal of the Century’ unless there is an independent, sovereign Palestinian state,” Bin Alawi was quoted as saying by Times of Oman.
“We have heard from both sides about the possibility of agreement on things that were difficult in the past, such as [Occupied] Jerusalem, the colonies, and security, which are extremely tangled issues. Both the Palestinian and Israeli leaders visited the Sultanate, and both were aware of the other’s visit. This was not hidden.”
The minister said that to understand the dynamics of the relationship between the two nations, a deeper knowledge of the situation was required.
“The Israelis, despite their massive military, economic, and technological strength, are still in trouble because they have not achieved security. An Israeli individual in the [Occupied] West Bank or in Israel does not know what could happen to him. This is in contrast to our situation. We are serene, and can go and come back with no worries. They are not tranquil. I saw up close that they are scared,” he said,
“The Palestinian side is the more powerful; they can accept or refuse as they see fit. The rise of an independent Palestinian state is a strategic necessity not just for Palestinians, but their entire surrounding area. Both sides have asked the Sultanate to facilitate the dialogue between them because they are sure that we have no hidden agenda. In the context of both visits, it is not part of the Omani traditions to make a guest say something that he does not want to say.”
Oman does not have a hidden agenda or profit in this issue, he added.
“Oman does not buy or sell in the Palestinian issue. That is a red line,” he said.