Manama: The boycott of Qatar by four Arab countries since June 2017 will continue in 2019, UAE State Minister for cabinet Affairs has said.

Looking ahead at the New Year, Anwar Gargash posted his forecast of local and regional developments

“In my opinion, the boycott of Qatar is continuing in 2019 because it is linked to changes that are necessary in Doha’s destructive orientations,” he posted. “Qatar will also continue to fail in breaking up the measures against it despite the high cost it is paying. The Qatari stance is driven by the former emir, and through it, he is defending a legacy that has caused Doha’s predicament.”

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt severed their diplomatic, trade and travel relations with Qatar after they accused it of failing to comply with resolutions it approved in the Riyadh Agreement by funding terrorism and supporting extremist elements.

The four countries issued a 13-demand list and asked Qatar to respond to them. However, Doha rejected the accusations and dismissed the demands, resulting in a stalemate that has not been resolved despite mediation efforts led by Kuwait.

The Quartet has maintained that Doha should change its course of action and address the issues instead of seeking assistance from other countries to resolve the crisis.

Saudi officials have often said they were ready to wait for decades for Qatar to make the appropriate moves towards a settlement of the crisis.

On Yemen, Gargash said the Arab alliance is in a better position now.

“In 2019, there will be breakthroughs in the crisis and a political deterioration of the position of the [Iran-backed] Al Houthi [rebels]. The road is still rough and a serious internal Yemeni dialogue must pave the way for the Yemeni issues. However, thanks to the intervention of the Riyadh-led Coalition, we are more optimistic.”

The UAE official predicted a stronger pan-Arab alliance and more crucial Arab presence.

“In the broader context, we find that the Arab axis anchored by Riyadh and Cairo will increase its momentum and strength vis-à-vis the Iranian and Turkish axes in the region. We may be still in the grey areas, but the Arab presence has become more important and its role greater than in previous years,” he posted to his 900,000 followers.

Iran has been regularly accused of harbouring expansionist plans in the region, often using proxies and interfering in the domestic affairs of other counties.

Several Arab counties have made moves to strengthen their relations with Iraq and restore their ties with Syria as a way of countering what they called Iran’s expansionist schemes in the Gulf and Middle East.

Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir last month made a visit to Syria where he met President Bashar Al Assad. Bahrain and the UAE have reopened their embassies in Damascus and a Syrian plane landed in Monastir, a Tunisian tourist resort, for the first time in more than eight years.

Regarding the path ahead for the UAE, Gargash said it would keep moving forward with its genuine support for brothers to promote stability and prosperity in the Arab world.

“The UAE’s inspiring model will be strengthened through its ambitious internal action plans, led by an enlightened and well-informed leadership that seeks to accomplish further achievements through innovation and strong endeavours,” he said.