Saudi Ara­bia, al­lies un­veil Qatar ‘ter­ror­ist’ blacklist

Kuwaiti na­tional on list Egypt vows no com­pro­mise on boy­cott

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

RIYADH: Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies un­veiled a “ter­ror­ist” blacklist yes­ter­day of 18 or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­di­vid­u­als sus­pected of links with Is­lamist ex­trem­ism that they said had ties with re­gional ri­val Qatar. The move by the four Arab gov­ern­ments came de­spite mount­ing in­ter­na­tional pres­sure to com­pro­mise in their weeks-old boy­cott of their fel­low US ally. Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Bahrain and Egypt last month re­leased a list of 59 peo­ple and 12 groups they al­leged had links to Qatar, ac­cused by the four states of ties to ex­trem­ist groups in the re­gion. Qatar has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

Yes­ter­day’s list black­listed nine char­ity and me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions and nine in­di­vid­u­als “di­rectly or in­di­rectly linked to Qatari au­thor­i­ties” as “ter­ror­ist”, read a joint state­ment re­leased by the four states. “We ex­pect Qatari au­thor­i­ties to take the next step and pros­e­cute the ter­ror­ist groups and peo­ple,” the state­ment said. “The four coun­tries and their in­ter­na­tional part­ners will en­sure that Qatar has ceased its sup­port and fund­ing of ter­ror­ism, has stopped wel­com­ing ter­ror­ists and has stopped spread­ing ex­trem­ist and hate speech,” it added.

The Saudi-led bloc, which now black­lists 89 per­sons and or­ga­ni­za­tions ac­cused of ties to Is­lamist groups they say are backed by Qatar, also dis­missed an amend­ment last week to Doha’s counter-ter­ror­ism law as “in­suf­fi­cient”. Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies have been boy­cotting Qatar since June 5 in the re­gion’s worst diplo­matic cri­sis in years. They sealed the emi­rate’s only land bor­der, or­dered its ci­ti­zens to leave and closed their airspace and wa­ters to Qatari flights and ship­ping.

They de­manded that Qatar break its long­stand­ing ties with the Mus­lim Brother­hood, black­listed as a “ter­ror group” by the four gov­ern­ments al­though not by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

They also de­manded that it close broad­cast­ing gi­ant Al-Jazeera and a Turk­ish mil­i­tary base, and fall in line with Saudi-led pol­icy in the re­gion, par­tic­u­larly to­wards Iran. Qatar has dis­missed the de­mands as a vi­o­la­tion of its sovereignty and has re­ceived sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from its ally Turkey. US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, who last week spent four days in the re­gion try­ing to bro­ker a set­tle­ment of the cri­sis, has voiced sat­is­fac­tion with Qatar’s ef­forts to ad­dress any sus­pi­cion of ter­ror fund­ing.

The four gov­ern­ments yes­ter­day black­listed three or­ga­ni­za­tions based in Ye­men and six based in Libya ac­cus­ing them of ties to Al-Qaeda. They also black­listed three Qataris, three Ye­me­nis, two Libyans and a Kuwaiti they said were im­pli­cated in “fundrais­ing cam­paigns to sup­port (for­mer Al-Qaeda af­fil­i­ate) Al-Nusra Front and other ter­ror­ist mili­tias in Syria”.

Qatar and its neigh­bors sup­port op­pos­ing sides in the con­flict in Libya be­tween a UN-backed unity gov­ern­ment in Tripoli and a ri­val ad­min­is­tra­tion in the east. Saudi Ara­bia has led a mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion against Shi­ite rebels in neigh­bor­ing Ye­men since March 2015. Mil­i­tants of both Al-Qaeda and the Is­lamic State group have since ex­panded their pres­ence in ar­eas of the south un­der the nom­i­nal con­trol of the Saudi-backed gov­ern­ment.

Mean­while, Egypt’s Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah Al-Sisi said on Mon­day his gov­ern­ment would keep up the block­ade of Qatar. “Egypt will stand by its de­ci­sion and will not back­track on this mat­ter,” Sisi said at a youth conference in Alexan­dria. “Our per­sis­tence on its own, our stance, and this block, is pres­sure in it­self.” Egypt also warned the EU yes­ter­day that four Arab states would ac­cept no com­pro­mise in their dis­pute with Qatar. For­eign Min­is­ter Sameh Shoukry, speak­ing af­ter talks with Euro­pean Union diplo­matic chief Fed­er­ica Mogherini in Brus­sels, said Qatar must ac­cept in full the de­mands. “It is not an is­sue of com­pro­mise, we can­not com­pro­mise with any form of ter­ror­ism, we can­not com­pro­mise or en­ter into any form of ne­go­ti­a­tions,” Shoukry told a press conference.

“It is only once the nec­es­sary mea­sures are un­der­taken by Qatar, that goes to­wards truly ac­cept­ing to be a part­ner in the fight against ter­ror­ism, that this cri­sis will be re­solved,” he said. Shoukry said Qatar was “har­bor­ing el­e­ments as­so­ci­ated to ter­ror­ist ide­olo­gies, to rad­i­cal ide­olo­gies, that they have uti­lized their me­dia out­lets to pro­mote and to jus­tify and to glo­rify ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­ity.”

But the four Arab states face mount­ing in­ter­na­tional pres­sure to com­pro­mise in their weeks-old boy­cott against Qatar, par­tic­u­larly from the United States. Mogherini - who at the week­end met HH the Amir of Kuwait emir, a key fig­ure in­volved in try­ing to me­di­ate the cri­sis - in turn re­it­er­ated calls for talks to re­solve the cri­sis. “We in Europe see this as a need not just for one coun­try but for all coun­tries,” she said, adding that the EU shared with Egypt a “clear com­mit­ment to fight ter­ror­ism”.

But she added that the EU be­lieved the Kuwait­i­me­di­ated talks “can and should start as a mat­ter of ur­gency,” if only to head off fresh ten­sions which un­der­mine the fight against ter­ror­ism, she said. “The EU will con­tinue to have good re­la­tions with all the coun­tries in­volved,” the for­mer Ital­ian for­eign min­is­ter added.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.