Arab-Qatari cri­sis con­tin­ues to es­ca­late dur­ing UN Hu­man Rights ses­sion in Geneva


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

The three-month old cri­sis be­tween four Arab coun­tries and Qatar has con­tin­ued to es­ca­late, as the lat­est con­flict took place on Mon­day at a UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil ses­sion in Geneva.

Speak­ing on be­half of the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE), Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain, and Egypt dur­ing the ses­sion, the Emi­rati en­voy to the UN, Obaid Al-Zaaby, ac­cused the Qatari for­eign min­is­ter of “dis­tort­ing facts, re­flect­ing the Qatari ap­proach in misleading the in­ter­na­tional pub­lic opinion to­wards the po­lit­i­cal cri­sis [be­tween Qatar and the four coun­tries].”

Al-Zaaby read a joint state­ment is­sued by the four boy­cotting coun­tries, which stated that the Qatari for­eign min­is­ter ought to an­nounce the end of his coun­try’s sup­port of ter­ror­ism. The state­ment dis­missed Qatar’s se­ri­ous­ness in hav­ing a con­flict-res­o­lu­tion di­a­logue.

Al-Zaaby as­serted the ne­ces­sity for Qatar to stop “its sup­port for ex­trem­ist ide­olo­gies and ter­ror ideas, which spread the ha­tred rhetoric and in­cite vi­o­lence,” ac­cus­ing Doha of fi­nanc­ing and host­ing ter­ror­ists over 20 years.

The Emi­rati en­voy said there was “no block­ade im­posed on Qatar” but that the boy­cotting states had sov­er­eign rights to face Qatar’s “ag­gres­sive poli­cies” and that the coun­try’s ports con­tinue to be opened in other coun­tries.

Mean­while, Qatar’s For­eign Min­is­ter Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Ab­dul­rah­man Al-Thani main­tained that the boy­cotting states were vi­o­lat­ing in­ter­na­tional and hu­man rights, adding that there were about 26,000 com­plaints filed by Qatari cit­i­zens claim­ing to have faced per­sonal in­con­ve­niences. Ac­cus­ing the four states of im­pos­ing a “block­ade”, Al Thani called on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to take mea­sures against them.

He claimed he was sur­prised by Saudi Ara­bia’s re­ac­tion that fol­lowed a phone call be­tween Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad Al Thani, and Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man on Satur­day.

Af­ter the first of­fi­cial call be­tween Doha and Riyadh, Saudi Ara­bia an­nounced sus­pend­ing any di­a­logue with Qatari au­thor­i­ties, ac­cus­ing the Qatari news agency of dis­tort­ing the con­tent of the phone call.

The Qatari news agency pub­lished a re­port about the phone call, say­ing it came af­ter co­or­di­na­tion with US President Don­ald Trump. It added that the Qatari emir agreed to bin Sal­man’s re­quest to as­sign en­voys to dis­cuss the cri­sis. How­ever, the Saudi side says the phone call was ini­ti­ated by Qatar.

On Mon­day, Mo­hammed bin Ab­dul­rah­man Al-Thani as­serted the Qatari nar­ra­tive in a press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing the ses­sion and said his coun­try was ready for di­a­logue to end the Gulf cri­sis in light of the ex­changed re­spect for states’ sovereign­ties, as­sert­ing con­dem­na­tion of all forms of ter­ror­ism and his appreciation for Kuwaiti me­di­a­tion through­out the cri­sis.

On 5 June, Egypt, Saudi Ara­bia, the UAE, 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, ac­cu­sa­tions that Doha de­nies.

Mean­while in Egypt, a strong cam­paign against Qatar con­tin­ues to take place among politi­cians and in the me­dia. A re­cent re­port by Hu­man Rights Watch (HRW) stirred an­gry re­ac­tions in the coun­try and ac­cu­sa­tions by gov­ern­ment sup­port­ers of ben­e­fit­ing the out­lawed Mus­lim Brother­hood in­cite­ment against Egypt, an ac­cu­sa­tion that Egypt also di­rected to Qatar. On Mon­day, Alaa Abed, head of the par­lia­ment’s Hu­man Rights’ Com­mit­tee said Qatar and Turkey were be­hind HRW’s fund­ing.

The four boy­cotting states for­eign min­is­ters met in Cairo in July

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