UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain recall envoys from Qatar

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UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain recall envoys from Qatar Mustafa Al Zarooni / 6 March 2014 Qatar, while expressing regret for the decision, said it would not resort to tit-for-tat action by withdrawing its envoys to the countries. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on Tuesday accused Qatar of interfering in their internal affairs and pulled out their ambassadors from Doha. Qatar, while expressing regret for the decision by its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, said it would not resort to tit-for-tat action by withdrawing its envoys to the countries. Earlier, in a joint statement, the three countries said they had “exerted massive efforts to contact Qatar on all levels to agree on a unified policy… to ensure non-interference, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any member state”. Doha was asked not to support “any party that threatens the security and stability of the GCC countries whether organisations, or individuals, either through direct security work or by political influence, and not to support the hostile media”. Qatar’s Amir His Highness Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani had made the commitment during a mini-summit in Riyadh last year with Kuwait’s Amir and the Saudi monarch. Kuwait’s Amir His Highness Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, now recuperating from surgery in the US, tried to calm tensions between the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, and Shaikh Tamim back then. Responding to the diplomatic action by the three countries, Doha said it was linked to “differences over issues outside the Gulf Cooperation Council”,  meaning policies on Egypt, and its support of the Muslim Brotherhood. The  decision by the UAE, Saudi and Bahrain follows a UAE Federal Court verdict on Monday jailing Qatari national Mahmud Al Jidah to seven years for links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Dr Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, Professor of Political Science at UAE University, said the diplomatic action was unprecedented and added that the “ball was now in Qatar’s court”. “Part of actions which Qatar should take to prevent the situation from getting worse is to silence Yousouf Al Qaradawi, who attacked the UAE from a mosque in Doha while delivering a sermon. Qatar should abandon the Muslim Brotherhood card, and change the editorial policy of Al Jazeera,” he said. On why the Sultanate of Oman and Kuwait did not withdraw their envoys from Doha, he said, “Oman has taken its own stand while Kuwait can play the role of a mediator as it has good relations with all GCC states.” Moanis Al Mardi, Chairman of the Bahrain Journalists Association, said Qatar had gone so far, and relations had reached tipping point. “The Kingdom of Bahrain has endured much and Al Jazeera was making the situation worse with its unfair reporting. Qatari ties with the GCC were deep and Doha should work towards a common goal,” Al Mardi said. “It should review its policies on the Brotherhood, failing which economic ties with the GCC could be snapped.” For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at , and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes Continue reading →

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