Call for Qatar cri­sis so­lu­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

BER­LIN: Ger­many called for greater diplo­matic ef­forts to re­solve the Qatar cri­sis and said Arab states should lift their block­ade of the small Gulf state and avoid any es­ca­la­tion into vi­o­lence.

“Along with our Amer­i­can col­leagues but above all our col­leagues in the re­gion, we must try to find solutions, es­pe­cially lift­ing the sea and air block­ades,” For­eign Min­is­ter Sig­mar Gabriel said in Wolfen­buet­tel, Ger­many.

“We’re talk­ing about food and many other things.”

Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar this week over its al­leged sup­port for ter­ror­ism and the agenda of regional arch-ri­val Iran – charges Qatar dis­missed.

Vis­it­ing Qatari For­eign Min­is­ter Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Ab­dul­rah­man al- Thani, speak­ing af­ter talks with Gabriel, said the block­ade of Qatar broke in­ter­na­tional law. He de­scribed the sev­er­ing of links as “col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment”.

“These pro­ce­dures that were taken are clear vi­o­la­tions of in­ter­na­tional law and in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian law. They will not have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the re­gion but a neg­a­tive one,” he said.

Ear­lier, the four Arab na­tions stepped up pres­sure on Qatar, is­su­ing a list of dozens of peo­ple des­ig­nated as ter­ror­ists, with al­leged links to Qatar. Sheikh Mo­hammed said it in­cluded jour­nal­ists and other in­di­vid­u­als with no re­la­tion­ship to Qatar. Some had never even vis­ited the coun­try.

Gabriel’s spokesman Martin Schae­fer later urged Iran, a Shi’ite state that Sunni Saudi Ara­bia ac­cuses of sup­port­ing mil­i­tant groups across the Mid- dle East, to re­frain from any move that could ex­ac­er­bate the cri­sis.

“It is im­por­tant that noth­ing is done on the other side of the Gulf... to pour oil on the fire,” he said in Ber­lin.

Ger­many would try to pro­mote di­a­logue but did not in­tend to be­come a key me­di­a­tor in the cri­sis. Gabriel was op­ti­mistic that diplo­matic ef­forts could re­solve the cri­sis and said “it must not end in fur­ther es­ca­la­tions that in­clude vi­o­lence.” – Reuters

PIC­TURE: EPA

Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Ab­dul­rah­man al-Thani, sec­ond left, with Sig­mar Gabriel as they leave a joint press con­fer­ence.

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