Saudi Arab

UAE, Saudi Arabia stall on US initiative against Iran

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reportedly urged Saudi Arabia to stop supporting a US proposal aimed at resolving a three-year political tension among Persian Gulf countries.

On Friday, Fox News television news network said the Trump administration pushed a number of countries in the region at the beginning of this year to resolve their dispute with Qatar in order to form a unified front against Iran and bolster Washington’s aggressive stance against Tehran.

Citing president of IRIS Independent Research Rebecca Grant, it reported that US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were seeking to end the Qatar crisis.

An agreement to end the feud was apparently at hand in the past week following high-level discussions among senior officials Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and the US.

Saudi Arabia initially indicated a willingness to accept elements of the US-led initiative, but the UAE shifted course and asked the Riyadh regime to withhold support for the proposal at the last moment.

Fox News highlighted that the delay has denied the Trump administration a diplomatic victory in the Middle East – and one of the few within reach ahead of the US presidential election in November, and hindered efforts to press ahead with maximum pressure campaign on Iran.

The UAE, meanwhile, sought to shift the blame over the collapse of reconciliation talks to end the diplomatic spat and blockade against Qatar to its main regional ally, Saudi Arabia.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, claimed in a post published on his official Twitter page that Abu Dhabi’s stance towards the crisis is crystal clear.

“Our position on the Qatar crisis is transparent and crystal clear. We are part of a quad group that has a united stance. We were forced to take deterrent measures to protect the four countries and safeguard their security.”

“In this context, we have absolute confidence in the wisdom and firmness of the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in managing this crisis in the common interest,” Gargash wrote, extending his country’s complete support to Saudi Arabia on the issue.

Back in February, Reuters news agency reported that talks between Saudi Arabia and Qatar to resolve a bitter dispute between the two Persian Gulf Cooperation Council member states collapsed shortly after kicking off in October last year.

According to sources and diplomats familiar with the talks, Qatar’s priority from the talks was to restore freedom of movement for its citizens, reopen the airspace of boycotting countries and Qatar’s only land border with Saudi Arabia.

However, Riyadh wanted Qatar to first demonstrate a fundamental change in behavior, especially its foreign policy.

On June 10, Qatar’s Ambassador to Turkey Salem bin Mubarak Al Shafi said Doha welcomes any genuine initiative that would end the economic and diplomatic blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies on the gas-rich Persian Gulf kingdom in June 2017.

“Qatar has always been keen on maintaining the unity of Persian Gulf littoral states to face challenges in the region. Qatar’s doors are always open to any real initiative to lift the blockade, respect the country’s sovereignty, prevent interference in its internal affairs and respect international law and the principle of equality between states,” he said in an exclusive interview with Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency at the time.

“Any propped initiative must take into account that Qatar will never compromise on its sovereignty and will not accept diktats from any party.

“We are always open to unconditional civil dialogue based on the principle of equality, respect for sovereignty and international law, and non-interference in internal affairs,” the diplomat pointed out.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, after the quartet officially accused Doha of meddling in regional affairs and supporting terrorism.

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry condemned the decision to cut diplomatic ties as unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions.

On June 9, 2017, Saudi Arabia and its allies issued a 13-point list of demands, including the closure of al-Jazeera television news network and downgrade of relations with Iran, in return for the reconciliation.

The document also asked Qatar to cut all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah. Qatar rebuffed the demands as “unreasonable.”


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