SAT 24 - 6 - 2017
 
Date: Nov 17, 2014
Source: The Daily Star
Surprise GCC meeting smooths over Qatar tensions
RIYADH: Gulf leaders Sunday ended eight months of tense relations with Qatar over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, deciding to return Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini envoys to Doha.
 
Earlier, leaders including the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar, the king of Bahrain and the UAE vice president arrived in Saudi Arabia for a previously unannounced summit, hosted by King Abdullah, aimed at resolving their differences.
 
Local media reported last week that leaders of the six-nation alliance, which also includes Oman, were expected to hold a meeting ahead of their annual summit in Doha on Dec. 9-10, in a last-ditch bid to overcome internal differences.
 
Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah has been leading a mediation effort to bridge the gap between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
 
The dispute led to reports of the venue for the annual GCC summit being moved from Doha, although Kuwait last week denied any change was in the works, as Sheikh Sabah led mediation efforts that were finally crowned in Riyadh.
 
A GCC foreign ministers’ meeting, which was scheduled on Nov. 10 to prepare for the summit, was postponed due to the impasse.
 
Qatar is accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and offering a safe haven to other banned Islamist groups.
 
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain all withdrew their ambassadors to Doha in March, sparking one of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s worst diplomatic rows since its creation in 1981.
 
A GCC statement Sunday said that the agreement for the ambassadors to return to Doha “promises the opening of a new page that will present a strong base, especially in light of the sensitive circumstances the region is undergoing.”
 
“Based on this, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have decided to return their ambassadors to Doha,” it said.
 
The meeting brought together four rulers of the GCC, while the United Arab Emirates was represented by Vice President Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Oman was absent.
 
The meeting “aims at strengthening the spirit of sincere cooperation and affirming ... the hopes of GCC people for strong relations,” it added.
 
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have accused Qatar of meddling in their internal affairs by supporting the Brotherhood.
 
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi label the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist” group, and the UAE has jailed dozens convicted of links to the Islamist organization.
 
Doha earlier this year asked Brotherhood leaders to leave Qatar following diplomatic pressure from Saudi Arabia.
 
The UAE Saturday issued a list of 83 Islamist groups which it classified as “terrorist organizations,” among them the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars, which is headed by the Brotherhood’s spiritual guide Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatari citizen.RIYADH: Gulf leaders Sunday ended eight months of tense relations with Qatar over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, deciding to return Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini envoys to Doha.
 
Earlier, leaders including the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar, the king of Bahrain and the UAE vice president arrived in Saudi Arabia for a previously unannounced summit, hosted by King Abdullah, aimed at resolving their differences.
 
Local media reported last week that leaders of the six-nation alliance, which also includes Oman, were expected to hold a meeting ahead of their annual summit in Doha on Dec. 9-10, in a last-ditch bid to overcome internal differences.
 
Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah has been leading a mediation effort to bridge the gap between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
 
The dispute led to reports of the venue for the annual GCC summit being moved from Doha, although Kuwait last week denied any change was in the works, as Sheikh Sabah led mediation efforts that were finally crowned in Riyadh.
 
A GCC foreign ministers’ meeting, which was scheduled on Nov. 10 to prepare for the summit, was postponed due to the impasse.
 
Qatar is accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and offering a safe haven to other banned Islamist groups.
 
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain all withdrew their ambassadors to Doha in March, sparking one of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s worst diplomatic rows since its creation in 1981.
 
A GCC statement Sunday said that the agreement for the ambassadors to return to Doha “promises the opening of a new page that will present a strong base, especially in light of the sensitive circumstances the region is undergoing.”
 
“Based on this, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have decided to return their ambassadors to Doha,” it said.
 
The meeting brought together four rulers of the GCC, while the United Arab Emirates was represented by Vice President Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Oman was absent.
 
The meeting “aims at strengthening the spirit of sincere cooperation and affirming ... the hopes of GCC people for strong relations,” it added.
 
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have accused Qatar of meddling in their internal affairs by supporting the Brotherhood.
 
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi label the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist” group, and the UAE has jailed dozens convicted of links to the Islamist organization.
 
Doha earlier this year asked Brotherhood leaders to leave Qatar following diplomatic pressure from Saudi Arabia.
 
The UAE Saturday issued a list of 83 Islamist groups which it classified as “terrorist organizations,” among them the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars, which is headed by the Brotherhood’s spiritual guide Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatari citizen.
 


 
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