Dubai: The speech delivered by Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani at the United Nations General Assembly in New York has been largely dismissed as a “regurgitation of old allegations and a disregard for the real reasons behind the crisis.”
“Nothing new and another opportunity was lost, as Qatar waded between claims of oppression and haughtiness,” Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, the UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs, posted on his Twitter account.
The UAE official has often posted remarks on the social microblog that Qatari officials were resorting to making claims Qatari citizens were placed under siege and their country under a blockade instead of addressing the real issues and the roots of the unprecedented crisis.
In his speech, Shaikh Tamim said that “Qatar will remain, as always, a safe haven for the oppressed, and will continue its mediation efforts to find just solutions in conflict zones.”
However, his remark was quickly ridiculed on social media.
“How many oppressed Syrian refugees has Qatar taken?” one blogger asked.
“They have taken more African long jumpers (track athletes) and centre forwards (football players).”
Another blogger mocked the claim, saying that Shaikh Tamim “can’t find a solution for one squabble with his neighbours, but will find ‘solutions’ in conflict zones?”
Jaber Mohammad, an analyst, said that he had expected a breakthrough ahead of Shaikh Tamim’s speech, but was let down once again.
“Instead, we had a speech that in its core brought nothing new and focused on enumerating woes and listing complaints,” he said.
“We saw the same talking points consisting of vague expressions of ‘We are right” and “They are wrong’, amounting to defiance.”
Qatari opposition figure Ali Al Duhnim pointed out the irony during a televised interview with Sky News Arabia.
“Shaikh Tamim was talking about terrorism as if Doha was the one suffering from it, and not the one funding and supporting it,” he said.
He said that the speech let down Gulf citizens — especially Qataris.
“He talked about the resistance of the Qatari people while in fact they are complaining about the internal situation that has pushed expatriates and capitals to flee the country.”
In Egypt, prominent TV talk show host Amr Adeeb criticised Shaikh Tamim for his speech.
“What is it that you want exactly from us? You went to the US and put up large banners about Qatar under siege and you took a case against us before the international community at the UN General Assembly when the issue is your own,” he said during his programme late on Tuesday.
“You keep talking about a blockade and Qataris suffering from a siege. Prove to us that your people are under siege with pictures that show they are suffering. We have seen pictures of Palestinians in Gaza and of tired Iraqis. Show us pictures showing the suffering of the Qatari society. You say that Qataris are heroes, and I agree because they have been able to put up with you.”
There have been growing calls among members of the Al Thani family to hold an internal meeting in Qatar to discuss its future.
Earlier this week, Shaikh Sultan Bin Suhaim Al Thani said that Qatar’s ostracisation in the Arab world was a result of the ‘grave mistakes’ of its leadership.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar over its support for terrorist groups.
Doha has successfully torpedoed ongoing efforts to start a dialogue because of its refusal to accept 13 demands issued by the GCC and other Arab states.
On Monday, Bahrain accused Qatar of illegally seizing three boats with 16 sailors on board, state news agency BNA reported, worsening an already deeply troubled diplomatic situation in the region.
Coast Guard Commander Commodore Alaa Siyadi told BNA the boats were seized over the past three days. The report gave no details on the boats or where they were seized.
Qatar confirmed it detained fishing boats after they entered its territorial waters illegally, and said the sailors will be released soon.
Siyadi said the seizure raised to 15 the number of boats seized, and the number of sailors in Qatari custody to 20, adding that some of the boat seizures date back to 2009, BNA reported.