Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) diplomats on Tuesday lashed back at Doha’s
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.
"We are advocates of peace and speak openly. We don’t work like bats at
night and our decisions are issued in broad daylight,” he said. He also
referred to Iran as an "honorable state” for not obliging Doha to open
an embassy on its soil.
The quartet of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates
severed diplomatic relations and cut trade ties with Qatar in June,
listing 13 demands including a stop to its support for terrorist groups.
Qatar has denied the charges.
A heated exchange occurred when Muraikhi accused the quartet of looking
to depose the Emir of Qatar and replace him with Foreign Minister Sheikh
Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who helped negotiate the entry of
Qatari pilgrims attending the annual Hajj pilgrimage into Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia's permanent envoy to the Arab League, Ahmed Kattan,
protested. "This is an improper thing to say because the kingdom of
Saudi Arabia will never resort to such cheap methods and we don’t want
to change the regime, but you must also know that the kingdom can do
anything it wants, God willing,” he said.
Kattan added that Qatar "killed any hope” of ending the Gulf crisis.
”The four countries will continue sticking to their demands until Doha
comes to its senses,” he said.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri criticized the Qatari envoy’s
remarks as being full of "provocations and inappropriate speech that
shouldn’t be used in such corridors,” and "especially in an unacceptable
He reiterated the ATQ’s charges that Doha had been "supporting
terrorism” and that Egypt has the right to protect its interests and
take all measures guaranteed by international law.
"We all know Qatar’s historic support for terrorism and what has been
provided for extremist factions, and money in Syria, Yemen, Libya and
Egypt that have lead to the death of many of Egypt’s sons,” Shoukry
Anwar Gargash, UAE state minister for foreign affairs, said that Qatar
harbors tens of terrorists listed on many international terror lists.
"The situation has improved in many Arab countries ever since the four
countries — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, also known as
Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) — took action against Qatar,” added Gargash.
"The four countries adopted those measures to protect themselves from
Qatar’s activities targeting their national security.”
Gargash said any dialogue with Qatar should be based on the list of 13
demands. He said Doha itself had informed Kuwait then that it was
willing to discuss the six principles and 13 demands set by the ATQ.
Kuwait had been trying to mediate between its feuding allies.
Gargash also took issue with Turkey and Iran’s support to Qatar during
the crisis, saying that "Qatar’s escape to Turkey and Iran is not
solving the crisis.”
Bahrain’s undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Regional
and GCC Affairs, Waheed Mubarak Sayyar, said Qatar has interfered in
his country’s internal affairs on multiple occasions and "supported the
overthrow of the regime in Bahrain.”
Sayyar added that "Qatar forgot all its actions threatening our stability and focused on humanitarian aspects.