Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash applauded efforts by the emir of Kuwait to try and mediate an end to the turmoil. However, when asked in a rare interview what Emiratis would be willing to concede, Gargash offered nothing. He also suggested that all options, including using force, remained on the table in confronting Qatar.
The United Arab Emirates joined Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in cutting off diplomatic ties to Qatar on Monday. The countries are now blocking Qatar’s access to their airspace and blocking its ships, isolating the small, energy-rich nation.
Measures taken by the United Arab Emirates and other nations against Qatar are aimed at pressuring Doha into changing its policies, not at overthrowing its regime, Gargash told AFP on Wednesday.
“We have now reached a cul-de-sac in terms of trying to convince Qatar to change course,” UAE’s Gargash said in an interview, accusing Qatar of being “the main champion of extremism and terrorism in the region.”
“This is not about regime change — this is about change of policy, change of approach,” Gargash said.
The Arab states accuse Qatar of supporting extremism, a charge Doha firmly denies.
Gargash said the crisis was the result of “an accumulation over many, many years of subversive Qatari politics and support for extremism and terrorist organizations.”
Qatar has forged regional alliances independently of its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council states, drawing accusation by Saudi Arabia and its allies of serving Iranian interests.
The country is home to a number of high-profile figures of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, both listed as terrorist organizations by the United States.
– With input from AP and AFP