Saudi FM says ‘brother state’ Qatar must act to end crisis

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir
Updated 07 June 2017

Saudi FM says ‘brother state’ Qatar must act to end crisis

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat said Wednesday that Qatar is a “brother state” and that punitive steps against the emirate were a well-intentioned effort to stop its support for Islamic extremism.
Speaking in Berlin, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir also said efforts would be made to resolve the conflict within the Gulf Cooperation Council.
“We see Qatar as a brother state, as a partner,” he told a joint press conference with German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel.
“But you have to be able to tell your friend or your brother when they are doing the right thing and when they are doing the wrong thing.”
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain are among seven states that have cut diplomatic ties and many major transport links with Qatar, a gas-rich emirate on the Saudi border.
The Arab states accuse Qatar of supporting extremism, a charge Doha firmly denies.
Al-Jubeir said it’s with “great pain” his country and others took measures against Qatar and said that “for many years Qatar has taken steps to support certain organizations.”
“This has been condemned in the past, but unfortunately we have not received appropriate cooperation on this and that’s why these measures have now been taken.”
He added that “we have taken these steps in the interest of Qatar... and in the interest of security and stability in the region.”
“And we hope that our brother Qatar will now take the right steps in order to end this crisis.”
Adel Al-Jubeir said he hopes Qatar can respond to demands put forward by his country, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates and Egypt to “restore relations to how they were in the past.” He said in Berlin he is seeking a response “soon.”
Al-Jubeir said that “the issue goes back many years.” He added that there was an “understanding” that Qatar would “take measures in relation to supporting some organizations and ... some individuals,” but that Qatar didn’t live up to its commitments.
Gabriel said Germany “worried about the possible consequences and a growing escalation” after the “very tough” measures taken against Qatar.
Berlin’s main concern was to “de-escalate the conflict” and rebuild Gulf regional cooperation, saying that “we need this cooperation in the anti-Islamic State coalition.”
Saudi Arabia and others cut ties with Qatar this week, accusing it of supporting extremists. Qatar denies the allegations.
Qatar has forged regional alliances independently of its fellow GCC states, drawing accusations from Saudi Arabia and its allies of serving Iranian interests.
The countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar this week, alleging it funded terror groups and has developed a worryingly close relationship with Iran, a nation with which it shares its vast offshore natural gas field.


–With input from AP and AFP


Kais Saied wins Tunisia presidency by ‘significant margin’

Updated 5 min 59 sec ago

Kais Saied wins Tunisia presidency by ‘significant margin’

  • Saied garnered 2.7 million votes against one million received by his rival business tycoon Nabil Karoui in Sunday's runoff, the commission said

TUNIS: Tunisia's election commission said a preliminary count shows conservative law professor Kais Saied has won the country's presidential election by a significant margin.
The commission reported Monday that Saied, who hasn't held elected office before, received 72.71% of the vote. His opponent, media mogul Nabil Karoui, got 27.29%.
The results confirm exit polls from Sunday's election.
Nabil Bafoun, head of the electoral commission, said "by looking at the result ... and knowing that it represents an absolute majority for this second round of the presidential elections, we, the Tunisian electoral commission, declare Mister Kais Saied winner of the presidential elections."
The commission said that Saied got a majority of the votes in each of the 33 electoral districts. He exceeded 90% in six traditionally very conservative southern districts.
The 61-year-old Saied is an independent outsider but has support from moderate party Ennahdha, which won Tunisia's parliamentary election last week.
He has promised to overhaul the country's governing structure to give more power to young people and local governments.
Karoui, 56, told supporters Sunday the race wasn't over because his legal team would explore options. He was arrested Aug. 23 in a corruption investigation and released with only two days left to campaign.
French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Saied for his election in a phone call Monday and wished him "success for Tunisia."
Macron stressed the Tunisian people's "democratic mobilization" over the past several weeks. He told Saied that he intends to pursue and enhance the partnership between the two countries.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi congratulated the Tunisian people and the elected president in a written statement.
If no legal action is taken to challenge the results, the electoral body is set to announce the definitive vote count on Thursday. Tunisia's parliament will then hold an extraordinary session during which the newly elected president will be sworn in and will formally start his five-year term.
The presidential vote was held early following the July death in office of President Beji Caid Essebsi.