qatar skyline
Qatar skyline Image Credit: Gulf News

Manama: UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash has dismissed as “not true” statements by Germany’s former minister for foreign affairs about a military intervention in Qatar in 2017.

“The statement by Sigmar Hartmut [Gabriel], the former German minister, at the Doha Forum that the region, during the Qatar crisis, was not far from a military intervention is incorrect,” Dr Gargash posted on his Twitter account.

“The decision of the four countries [to take action against Qatar] was based on Qatar’s support for extremism and interference in their affairs. I met Gabriel at the time in Berlin and he understood the causes of the crisis.”

The measures taken by the four countries are political and sovereign and aim to thwart its destructive orientation, he added.

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“We realise that Doha will go back to its senses and to its Gulf surroundings in due course and the statement of Gabriel is distinctively spatial and wrong.”

On June 5, 2017, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed their political, trade and travel relations with Qatar after they accused it of supporting extremists and interfering in their domestic affairs. They issued a 13-point list of demands and wanted Qatar to comply with them.

However, Doha dismissed the accusations and rejected the demands, resulting in a standstill that has deepened following the failure of mediation efforts led by Kuwait.

Officials in the four countries have regularly said that there was no need for mediation and that Doha knew exactly what it should do to end the crisis.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir this year said they were ready to wait for as long as it takes, even 50 years if need be, for the settlement of the crisis.

At the Doha Forum on Saturday, Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani said Qatar’s position has not changed on how to solve the Gulf crisis.

“This can be achieved by lifting the ‘siege’ and resolving differences through dialogue and non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs,” he said in his remarks.

Amir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani speaks during Doha Forum in Doha, Qatar Image Credit: Reuters

“It is dialogue that bridges the gap between the parties, no matter how intense the differences are. It is the starting point and the ending point in these challenging times.”

However, Dr Gargash said that Shaikh Tamim’s statement was “doublespeak” that perpetuates those of the former emir.

“The Emir of Qatar at the Doha Forum refuses interference in his internal affairs, but he is adamant about his country’s policies of interfering in the internal affairs of his neighbours and the countries of the region,” Dr Gargash posted. “This is duplicity that bears the influence of the former emir. In short, we will not see a fundamental change that allows the young leadership to manage matters realistically.”

He said that Qatar needed to address the roots of the dispute.

“It is clear that the Qatari regime understands that its citizens see their disconnection from the Gulf region as a major existential crisis and an abnormal situation. Hence, Doha’s desperate attempts for a ‘kiss and forgive’ reconciliation without addressing the real causes of the dispute,” he posted.

“We may not add a new element when we point out that the desperate attempts to find solutions through Western capitals have not succeeded and were not in themselves a convincing policy. However, Doha, under Turkish and Iranian protection, continues to work in the same desperate pattern.”

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In Bahrain, Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa tweeted that Qatar calls for dialogue, but its emir was not at the GCC summit in Riyadh where the six member countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, convened for their annual meeting. Doha was represented by its state minister for foreign affairs.

“Qatar calls for dialogue, but its emir does not attend the GCC summit. It calls for mutual respect, but it attacks our leaders and our countries around the clock. It calls for non-interference in internal affairs, but it is interfering and does not stop conspiring. And above all that, we do not know about what siege they are talking.”

Shaikh Khalid insisted that the crisis was a Qatar crisis and that there was no need for mediation.

“What is needed is a wise individual among Qataris,” he tweeted.