Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Gulf News/Robert Anderson: UAE minister says Qatar isolation could last years


GulfNews.com
 
UAE minister says Qatar isolation could last years

“If they want to be isolated because of their perverted view of what their political role is, then let them be isolated,” said Dr Anwar Gargash

By Robert Anderson
Tuesday 20 June 2017

The UAE’s minister of state and foreign affairs has said the diplomatic and economic isolation of Qatar could last years if Doha does not address the concerns of its neighbours.

Dr Anwar Gargash said that there would be “demands coming” from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt to end the isolation of Qatar, which they accuse of supporting terrorist groups.

“Qatar will realise that this is a new state of affairs and isolation can last years,” he said in Paris after meeting European officials in recent days.

“If they want to be isolated because of their perverted view of what their political role is, then let them be isolated.”

Qatar denies it is funding terror groups and said on Monday the ending of the “blockade”, which has seen the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi close air, land and sea links to it, was a pre-condition for talks to begin.

“We have to make it very clear for everyone, negotiations must be done in a civilised way and should have a solid basis and not under pressure or under blockade,” foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman said.

Representatives from both sides have sparred in US newspaper op-eds since the isolationist measures began, with Qatar’s ambassador to Washington this week highlighting the role of Emiratis and Saudis in the 9/11 terror attacks.

Read: Qatari ambassador criticises UAE and Saudi in 9/11-focussed op-ed

Efforts to resolve the dispute have so far not produced results, despite intervention from the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who said in a Ramadan speech this week he hoped the remaining days of the Muslim holy month would create “the atmosphere for resolving unfortunate differences and ending the rift through dialogue and communication” in the Gulf.

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