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No end in sight for crisis with Qatar, says Saudi minister

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir speaks during a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel following their meeting in Berlin, Germany on 7 June, 2017 [Cüneyt Karadağ/Anadolu Agency]
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir speaks during a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel following their meeting in Berlin, Germany on 7 June, 2017 [Cüneyt Karadağ/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister pointed out on Friday that there is no end in sight for his country’s crisis with Qatar, Arabi21.com has reported. Adel Al-Jubeir added that the crisis is, in any case, “very small” compared to other challenges facing the Middle East.

Al-Jubeir made his comments while attending the high-level Conference on the Sahel at the European Commission in Brussels, where he gave several media interviews and addressed the EU Parliament. “Qatar,” he insisted, “has to stop its support for terror and stop meddling in the affairs of the neighbouring countries.”

The Saudi minister claimed that Qatar had stopped its support for the “terrorist” Palestinian group Hamas, and this has “facilitated the handover” of government offices in Gaza to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority. Commentators with knowledge of the situation in the coastal territory noted that the handover was actually part of the agreement reached by Hamas and the Fatah-led PA in a deal brokered by the Egyptians, and that the Gaza Strip has been in the grip of a devastating blockade for more than decade.

Timeline: Arab rift with Qatar

“In the West, they see Qatar as a developed country with foreign universities and museums and Paris [Saint-Germain Football] Club, but they do not know the dark side about it as it supports and finances terror.” He did not provide any evidence for this allegation. Opponents of the Saudi government are described routinely as “terrorists”, an accusation which, say observers, seems to require no further explanation.

According to Al-Jubeir, Iran is the “sole and greatest danger in the region, and maybe the world.” He said that the militias supported by the government in Tehran have a “negative role” in the Middle East. “We have to work together to force Iran to refrain from getting involved in the internal affairs of regional states.”

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