Qatar ‘meddling’ widens gulf between GCC states

Qatar ‘meddling’ widens gulf between GCC states
Updated 07 March 2014

Qatar ‘meddling’ widens gulf between GCC states

Qatar ‘meddling’ widens gulf between GCC states

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar effective Wednesday because the country had threatened the “stability and security” of the region.
In response, the Qatari government said it would not retaliate by withdrawing its ambassadors, and argued that the dispute was about holding divergent views on developments taking place “outside the Gulf states,” and had nothing to do with security issues.
The three countries expressed the hope that Qatar would take immediate steps to comply with the joint security agreement signed in Riyadh on Nov. 23, 2013, by the GCC countries.
The agreement calls for all member states to “abide by the principles that there should be no direct or indirect meddling in regional affairs, or backing of any party that threatens regional security and stability, whether they are organizations or individuals, and whether that meddling was through direct security operations or through attempts for political influence.”
The agreement also stipulated that no GCC member should back “hostile” media outlets.
The joint statement said: “Having waited for Qatar to show that it has implemented the terms of the Riyadh agreement to no avail, a meeting was held in Riyadh on March 4, during which the participants tried strenuously to impress upon Qatar the need for compliance. We are extremely sorry to say that said attempts failed and that the state of Qatar has still not honored the terms of the agreement.
“Therefore, the three countries find themselves compelled to start procedures that will adequately protect their security and stability. They therefore decided to recall their ambassadors from Qatar effective today, March 5, 2014.”
The statement added: “We want to stress the fact that the three countries are keen on protecting the interests of the GCC countries and peoples, including the people of Qatar. We still hope that Qatar will quickly take the necessary steps to respond and honor the earlier agreement for the sake of protecting the progress of GCC countries from any damage.”
A Saudi official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Arab News on Wednesday that the decision to withdraw the ambassadors does not mean the three countries would cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. It was instead a way to protest Qatar’s failure to meet the obligations stipulated in the security pact.
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The decision would be reassessed provided Qatar complies with the defense security agreement, the official said.
The Qatari Council of Ministers, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said it was disappointed at the decision, according to the Qatar News Agency.
“The statement made it clear that the move by its sisterly countries Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain did not have anything to do with the interests or the security and stability of the Gulf nations, but due to differences of opinion taken on issues outside the Gulf states,” the agency report said.
“The State of Qatar has been and will always remain committed to the principles of brotherhood that bind the brethren in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
And that’s why Qatar refuses to take similar steps by recalling its ambassadors,” the statement said.
The statement reiterated Qatar’s commitment to protecting the security and stability of the GCC.