Egyptian billionaire businessman says Qatar situation is a ‘stand against terror’ not a diplomatic row

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris speaks to CNBC
Updated 15 September 2017

Egyptian billionaire businessman says Qatar situation is a ‘stand against terror’ not a diplomatic row

DUBAI: The dispute with Qatar is not a diplomatic row, but instead a stand against terrorism, the Egyptian billionaire and chairman of the telecoms company Weather Investments, Naguib Sawiris has said in a television interview.
Speaking to the cable news channel CNBC, Sawiris, was asked about the situation in the region where the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) severed diplomatic relations in June with Qatar amid claims that it supported terror.
The outspoken businessman said the situation was not a row, because the country was “hosting advocates of terror.”
“It’s not a diplomatic row. It’s a position against terrorism. I mean people have not spent enough time figuring out who is really financing all what is happening,” he said.
“When a country is hosting all the advocates of terror, whether they are the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, or Hamas, or other terror organizations.”
“When they host clergymen, that are illiterate, but tell young people ‘listen, go and blow up this place, kill innocent people, it’s okay and you’ll end up in heaven,’ Then there is no more to talk about. It is not a diplomatic row. It’s just a stand against terrorism saying enough is enough.”
The ATQ was created in June by the four Arab nations, which immediately severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremist groups and of being too close to Iran, which has been accused by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of fomenting strife in various parts of the region.
The four nations that make up the ATQ are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
The ATQ also shut down air, maritime and land links and imposed economic sanctions on Qatar.
A defiant Qatar rejected the quartet’s demands, even though these were reduced from an initial 13 to six. Doha also restored diplomatic ties with Tehran, further widening the rift.
On Tuesday ATQ diplomats slammed Doha for its latest “provocations” after Qatar’s state minister for foreign affairs praised Iran and blamed the bloc for a humanitarian crisis caused by their blockade of Qatar.

During a meeting of ministers at the Arab League, Sultan Saad Al-Muraikhi, Qatar’s permanent envoy to the Arab League, also challenged the quartet to present evidence that his country was supporting extremist groups and terrorists.

US ‘suspects’ Iran seized UAE based oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Updated 16 July 2019

US ‘suspects’ Iran seized UAE based oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

  • Ship tracking data shows the Panamanian-flagged tanker Riah stopped transmitting its location Saturday
  • A US defense official told AP that Riah is in Iranian territorial waters near Qeshm Island

LONDON: The US said it suspects Iran has seized an oil tanker that drifted into Iranian waters as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz.

Ship tracking data shows the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah, which is based in the UAE, stopped transmitting its location on Saturday.

The incident is the latest involving shipping in the region where tensions between Iran and the US have escalated in recent months. Iran has been accused of planting mines on several tankers as Washington ramps up economic and military pressure on the regime over its nuclear program and aggressive foreign policy in the region.

Iran also threatened to retaliate against shipping after British forces this month helped seize an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar as it attempted to deliver oil to Syria.

A US defense official told AP that Riah is in Iranian territorial waters near Qeshm Island, which has a Revolutionary Guard base on it. He said the US "has suspicions" Iran seized the vessel.

"Could it have broken down or been towed for assistance? That's a possibility," the official said. "But the longer there is a period of no contact ... it's going to be a concern."

The Riah, a 58-meter oil tanker, traveled from a port near Dubai through the Strait of Hormuz toward Fujairah on the UAE's east coast. After 11 p.m. Saturday something happened to the vessel, according to tracking data.

Capt. Ranjith Raja of the data firm Refinitiv told AP that the tanker had not switched off its tracking in three months of trips around the UAE.

"That is a red flag," Raja said. 

An Emirati official told Al Arabiya that the oil tanker is not owned or operated by the UAE and has not sent a distress call.

“We are monitoring the situation with our international partners,” the official said.

The ship's registered owner, Dubai-based Prime Tankers LLC, told AP it had sold the ship to another company.

Iranian officials have not said anything publicly about the ship.

*With AP