Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

US Christians, Jews lobby for more pressure on Qatar over terror

Fishing boats in the Iranian city of Chabahar Fishing boats in the Iranian city of Chabahar
Saul Franklin | 27 June, 2017, 01:21

The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said an agreement would require Qatar to stop supporting Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and al-Qaeda - a charge it denies.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu late Friday held talks with Saudi King Salman in Mecca aimed at easing the crisis over the diplomatic and economic isolation of Ankara's ally Qatar.

Reconciliation between Qatar and its neighbours is becoming increasingly hard, with the peninsular state seemingly unwilling to back down or concede accusations that it supports terrorism.

The blockade gives the Saudis an opportunity to demonstrate their strength at a time when they are trying to position themselves as the leader of an Islamic military alliance, battling Houthi rebels in Yemen and Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, analysts said.

The accusations of terrorism against Qatar are groundless, according to him.

It has also increased food supplies to Qatar after the emirate's land border was closed.

On Monday, the state-run Qatar News Agency instructed a law firm to file a formal complaint with Ofcom, Britain's telecommunications regulator, against the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel and Sky News Arabia for their coverage of Qatar.

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He highlighted that Saudi Arabia's hosting of the historic Arab Islamic American Summit brought together the USA and a number of Muslim and Arab countries with the aim of better dialogue between Arab and Islamic countries and their counterparts in the West.

And Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has expressed support for Qatar, urging a swift end to the political dispute with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, among others. Morocco, which enjoys good relations with Qatar as well as the other Gulf countries, stated that its decision came in line with the spirit of Islamic values especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

Qatar remains the home of some 10,000 American troops at a major USA military base.

"This state is weaponising jihadists and extremists, it is using this as a weapon of influence", he added. Kuwait and Oman presently remain the only countries of the GCC retaining diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar.

"The blockade imposed on Qatar by other states of the region is an act of aggression, Thani said". On June 7, Turkey's Parliament approved the deployment of troops to a Turkish military base in Qatar. "The blockade has been ongoing for two weeks and the blockading nations have offered no formula for resolving the crisis", Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed al-Thani, Director of Qatar's Government Communications Office, said in a statement.

"Turkey will continue and we will develop our ties with Qatar, as with all our friends who have supported us in the most hard moments", he added in reference to last year's failed coup.

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