RIYADH SUS­PENDS TALKS WITH DOHA ONE HOUR AF­TER TAMIM, BIN SAL­MAN CALL

Emir of Kuwait says his coun­try’s me­di­a­tion stopped mil­i­tary ac­tion against Qatar, amid an Arab Quar­tet de­nial

The Daily News Egypt - - Front Page - By Mo­hammed El-Said

King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia an­nounced early on Saturday the sus­pen­sion of di­a­logues with Qatari au­thor­i­ties un­til Doha is­sues a clear state­ment clar­i­fy­ing its po­si­tion in pub­lic, ac­cord­ing to Saudi state news agency SPA.

The agency cited a Saudi of­fi­cial in the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs ac­cus­ing Qatari news agency QNA of dis­tort­ing the con­tent of the phone call be­tween the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad Al Thani, and Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man.

The sus­pen­sion of com­mu­ni­ca­tion comes just an hour af­ter a sud­den phone call be­tween Tamim and Bin Sal­man to dis­cuss the cri­sis be­tween Doha on one side with Riyadh and its al­lies on the other.The call is be­lieved to be the first of­fi­cial con­tact be­tween Doha and Riyadh since the be­gin­ning of the Gulf cri­sis early in May.

The Qatari news agency pub­lished a re­port about the phone call, say­ing the call has come af­ter co­or­di­na­tion with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. It added that “the Emir (Tamim) agreed to Bin Sal­man’s re­quest to as­sign en­voys to dis­cuss the cri­sis with­out touch­ing the sovereignty of states.”

How­ever, the Saudi of­fi­cial added that the phone call was ini­ti­ated by Qatar, with Doha re­quest­ing to ini­ti­ate di­a­logue with Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt, in con­di­tion to guar­an­tee­ing the in­ter­est of all par­ties, a call that was wel­comed by the Saudi crown prince, SPA added.

On 5 June, Egypt, Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Bahrain, Ye­men, and Libya’s east­ern-based gov­ern­ment, in ad­di­tion to the Mal­dives, cut their diplo­matic and travel ties with Qatar.The six gov­ern­ments ac­cused Qatar of sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism, sup­port­ing Iran, and dis­turb­ing se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion, charges that Doha de­nies.

Mea­sures against Qatar in­clude clo­sure of trans­port ties, in­clud­ing airspace, ex­pelling diplo­matic del­e­ga­tions, and with­draw­ing ambassadors from Qatar. Qatari vis­i­tors and res­i­dents were given two weeks to leave some of the boy­cotting coun­tries.

In con­trast with his pre­vi­ous po­si­tion, Trump of­fered to me­di­ate in the Gulf cri­sis. Dur­ing a joint press con­fer­ence with Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in Wash­ing­ton, D.C, Trump called on the Gulf co­op­er­a­tion coun­cil (GCC) coun­tries and Egypt to fo­cus on the com­mit­ments at the Riyadh sum­mit to con­tinue the joint ef­forts to de­feat ter­ror­ism.

He stressed the im­por­tance of keep­ing the GCC united, say­ing that Qatar, Saudi Ara­bia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt are all es­sen­tial US part­ners in ef­forts to de­feat ter­ror­ism.

Pre­vi­ously, Trump ac­cused Qatar of be­ing in­volved in ter­ror­ism fi­nanc­ing. He praised the mea­sures taken against Doha in a se­ries of posts on Twit­ter on just one day af­ter the be­gin­ning of the cri­sis, say­ing, “Dur­ing my re­cent trip to the Mid­dle East I stated that there can no longer be fund­ing of Rad­i­cal Ide­ol­ogy. Lead­ers pointed to Qatar - look!”

Qatar hosts Al-Udeid air­base, the largest US mil­i­tary base in the Mid­dle East.

In the con­fer­ence, the Emir of Kuwait said his coun­try’s me­di­a­tion has stopped any mil­i­tary ac­tion against Doha, stress­ing that the cri­sis is a “Gulf cri­sis.” He added that Qatar had ex­pressed will­ing­ness to dis­cuss a list of 13 de­mands from its sis­ters, and he knows that “not all of these are ac­cept­able.”

The list of de­mands in­cluded the shut­ting down of Al Jazeera me­dia net­work, cut­ting ties be­tween Doha and Iran, and clos­ing the Turk­ish mil­i­tary base.

Fol­low­ing the press con­fer­ence, the Qatari for­eign min­is­ter, Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Ab­dul­rah­man Al Thani, said in a phone call with Al Jazeera Ara­bic that any me­di­a­tion had to come with­out con­di­tions, con­sid­er­ing the 13 de­mands as abus­ing Qatar’s sovereignty.

The four Arab coun­tries boy­cotting Qatar is­sued a joint state­ment ex­press­ing their ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the Kuwaiti me­di­a­tion in the cri­sis. They also ex­pressed re­gret for what Al-Sabah said about the mil­i­tary ac­tion against Doha, say­ing that it was never sug­gested in all cases, and the cri­sis with Qatar is not only a Gulf cri­sis, but also with sev­eral Mus­lim and Arab coun­tries.

In the state­ment pub­lished in SPA, the four al­lies said that the Qatari FM state­ments nei­ther ex­presses will­ing­ness to have any di­a­logue nor to con­front ter­ror­ism. They also praised the po­si­tion of the US pres­i­dent and his as­ser­tion of the ne­ces­sity of stop­ping fi­nanc­ing ter­ror­ism, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

Kuwait is the main me­di­a­tor in the Gulf cri­sis and is be­lieved to play an im­por­tant role in the is­sue as a re­sult of its good re­la­tions with all par­ties in­volved in the cri­sis.

Two days fol­low­ing the be­gin­ning of the cri­sis, Turkey de­ployed troops in its mil­i­tary base in Qatar as Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan ex­pressed his coun­try’s sol­i­dar­ity with Qatar.

The sus­pen­sion of com­mu­ni­ca­tion comes af­ter a phone call be­tween Tamim and Bin Sal­man to dis­cuss the cri­sis

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