Qatar says decision based on lies as Yemen also cuts ties with Doha
The coordinated move by the four countries dramatically escalates a simmering dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement, and adds accusations that Doha even backs the agenda of regional arch-rival Iran.world Updated: Jun 05, 2017 17:56 IST
Qatar said on Monday it was facing a campaign of lies and fabrications aimed at putting the Gulf Arab state under guardianship, after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with it.
“The campaign of incitement is based on lies that had reached the level of complete fabrications,” the Qatari foreign ministry said.
It added that, as a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, it was committed to its charter, respected the sovereignty of other states and did not interfere in their affairs.
The coordinated move by the four countries dramatically escalates a simmering dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement, and adds accusations that Doha even backs the agenda of regional arch-rival Iran.
In another development, Yemen’s internationally recognised government also cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of working with its enemies in the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, state news agency Saba reported.
“Qatar’s practices of dealing with the (Houthi) coup militas and supporting extremist groups became clear,” the government said in a statement.
It added that Yemen supported a decision by a Saudi-led coalition fighting for more than two years to oust the Houthis from the capital Sanaa to remove Qatar from its ranks announced earlier on Monday.
A senior Iranian official said on Monday the decision by some Gulf Arab states and Egypt to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar would not help end the crisis in the Middle East.
“The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders ... is not a way to resolve crisis ... As I said before, aggression and occupation will have no result but instability,” Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted on Monday.
US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and defense secretary Jim Mattis said that they did not expect a decision by some Gulf countries to sever ties with Qatar to affect the fight against terrorism but urged them to address their differences.
“I do not expect that this will have any significant impact, if any impact at all, on the unified - the unified - fight against terrorism in the region or globally,” Tillerson told reporters in Sydney after meetings between Australian and US foreign and defence ministers.
The region plays an important role for the US military in the fight against Islamic State. Bahrain houses the US Navy’s Fifth fleet, which patrols the seas of the Middle East and Central Asia, while Qatar is home to the Al Udeid Airbase, from where the United States carries out airstrikes against militants in the region.
Tillerson urged the Gulf Cooperation Council nations to sort out their differences and said that the United States was willing to play a role in helping the countries address their differences.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has no immediate plans to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, a spokesman for the South Asian nation’s foreign ministry said on Monday.
The country “has no such plans,” the spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said, following Monday’s surprise severing of ties with Qatar by Islamabad’s key ally, Saudi Arabia, and three other Middle East nations.
“At the moment there is nothing on Qatar issue, (we) will issue a statement if some development takes place,” Zakaria said.
Pakistan, which has a significant Shi’ite Muslim population, has in recent years been caught between the feud between its Sunni ally, Saudi Arabia, and Shi’ite-majority neighbour Iran.
First Published: Jun 05, 2017 12:38 IST