Turkey calls for dialogue over Qatar rift with Arab states

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 6, 2017

Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt on Monday cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremism, in the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in years.

According to Kosachev, it is hardly possible to state that only Qatar has ties with militants and deny that none of these other Arab states have similar ties.

The crisis was likely to have wide-ranging consequences, not just for Qatar and its citizens but around the Middle East and for Western interests.

The countries asked the Qatar's diplomats to leave their countries within 48 hours, and barred Qatari nationals from entering their states for 14 days and vice versa.

Economic disturbances loomed immediately, as Abu Dhabi's state-owned Etihad Airways said it would suspend all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice.

The UAE's foreign ministry says it is supportive of the statements issued by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, while affirming its "full commitment and full support" for the GCC.

Bahrain blamed Qatar's "media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain" for its decision.

"(Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly", Saudi state news agency SPA said.

Speaking in Sydney, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he did not expect the announcement to have "any significant impact, if any impact at all, on the unified fight against terrorism".

The nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic.

He encouraged Qatar and its neighbours to "sit down together", adding that Washington was ready for "any role that we can play" in helping to overcome divisions.

The statement accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in its restive and largely Shi'ite Muslim-populated Eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE also announced they were suspending flights to Qatar and banned their citizens from travelling to Doha.

"Neighbours are permanent; geography can't be changed. Dialogue is imperative, especially during blessed Ramadan", Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, referring to the Muslim month of fasting.

In May, Qatar had alleged that hackers took over the site of its state-run news agency and published fake comments citing its ruling emir about Iran and Israel.

Gas-rich Doha, which has long exercised an independent streak in its foreign policy, last month denied comments which appeared on its official news agency questioning U.S. hostility towards Iran.

Doha denied the comments and said it had been the victim of a "shameful cybercrime".

"It seems that the Saudis and Emiratis feel emboldened by the alignment of their regional interests - toward Iran and Islamism - with the Trump administration", said Kristian Ulrichsen, a Gulf expert at the U.S-based Baker Institute.

There was no immediate word from Kuwait and Oman on Monday on their ties with Qatar.

Qatar has been criticised for supporting Islamist rebels in Syria, and in 2013, the Afghan Taliban opened a Doha office. This is an internal matter of GCC (Gulf Coordination Council).

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