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Qatar denies plot to destabilise Bahrain

June 17, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani attends the 37th Leaders Summit by Gulf Cooperation Council member states at Al-Sakhir Palace in Manama, Bahrain on 6 December, 2016 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

Qatar on Saturday denied accusations of attempting to undermine security in neighboring Bahrain.

On Friday, Bahrain’s official BNA news agency broadcast a phone call allegedly between Hamad bin Khalifa al-Attiyah, an adviser to Qatar’s Emir and Hassan Ali Joma, a leader of Bahrain’s opposition Shia Al-Wefaq movement.

The agency accused Doha of meddling with Bahrain’s internal affairs with the aim of “overthrowing” the regime.

In response, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement the phone call was part of Qatari efforts to mediate between the Bahraini authorities and opposition in the wake of the 2011 unrest in Bahrain.

The statement said the contacts had been made “with the approval and knowledge of the authorities in Bahrain”.

“The Qatari mediation has stopped after the decision of military intervention to disperse the protests and sit-ins,” the statement said, referring to the decision to send Saudi-led forces to quell the protests.

The ministry described the broadcast of the phone call as “an exposed naive attempt to twist the facts and take them out of context.”

On June 5, five Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Yemen — abruptly cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

Qatar, for its part, denied the accusations, calling the moves to isolate it diplomatically “unjustified”.