Qatar ‘regrets’ envoys’ recall by three GCC states

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Daisy

Qatar yesterday regretted the decision of three fellow-members of the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) to recall their ambassadors from Doha, but said it would not pull out its own envoys.

A statement issued by the Cabinet expressed Doha’s “regret and surprise” at the decision of the “sisterly countries of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain to withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar”.

The decision “has nothing to do with the interests, security and stability of GCC people” but was linked to a difference in positions over issues outside the GCC, the statement said.

It added that Qatar  was “absolutely keen on brotherly ties between the Qatari people and fellow GCC people, which prevent Qatar from taking a similar procedure of recalling its ambassadors”.

The Cabinet reiterated Qatar’s “continued commitment to the principles on which GCC is based and the implementation of its obligations in line with GCC states’ agreements on preserving and maintaining their security and stability”.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain said they had acted after a GCC foreign ministers meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday had failed to persuade Qatar to implement a November 23 accord.

The GCC, formed in 1981, also includes Kuwait, which is currently the bloc’s president, and Oman.

Kuwait’s parliament speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim said later yesterday he was concerned by the implications of yesterday’s developments. Oman has not commented.

 “We follow with concern the implications,” al-Ghanim said, according to state news agency Kuna.

Al-Ghanim added that he looked forward to efforts by Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah to “heal a rift between brothers in the Gulf Co-operation Council”, the agency said.

Kuwait’s 84-year-old emir, a veteran diplomat, and his officials have tried to soothe tensions between Gulf states in recent months, such as before a GCC meeting in the country in December, diplomats
say.

The emir, who was foreign minister for four decades, had minor surgery in the US, Kuna said on Sunday. The emir’s palace said in a statement late yesterday that he had been released from hospital.

Kuwait’s foreign minister said earlier this week that the country is keen to foster a positive atmosphere at an Arab League summit which it is hosting on March 25.

On Monday, a UAE court which has jailed dozens of Emirati and 20 Egyptian Islamists sentenced a Qatari physician to seven years in prison after convicting him of raising funds for a local Muslim Brotherhood-linked group, Al-Islah.

A Qatar rights body on Tuesday slammed the ruling as “unfair”.

Shares drop 2%

 The surprise withdrawal of ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain from Doha appeared to have triggered a sell-off on the Qatar Exchange where more than 88% of the traded stocks closed in the red. Foreign institutions’ profit-booking rather led the 20-stock Qatar Index (based on price data) to report the largest single-day loss of 2% in six months to 11,346.58 points and capitalisation erode by QR17bn.