The back-and-forth over the games comes as four Arab nations, including the UAE, have been boycotting Qatar for months, in part over allegations that it supports extremists and has overly warm ties to Iran. Qatar has long denied supporting extremists while it shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Tehran.
On Tuesday, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter that Qatar’s hosting of the games should “include a repudiation of policies supporting extremism & terrorism.”
The Anti-Terror Quartet comprising Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE began their boycott of Qatar on June 5. Mediation efforts by Kuwait, the US and others so far have failed to resolve the diplomatic crisis, the worst to hit the Gulf since Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
When Qatar’s sole land border with Saudi Arabia was closed and sea traffic cut off by the boycott, World Cup organizers were forced to instigate a “Plan B” including bringing in supplies from Turkey. Qatari authorities say their efforts at building stadiums and infrastructure for the tournament, the first to be held in the Mideast, remain on track.