Arab Quartet Foreign Ministers discussing diplomatic situation with Qatar in July, 2017 in Cairo- Reuters Arab Quartet Foreign Ministers discussing diplomatic situation with Qatar in July, 2017 in Cairo- Reuters

Qatar crisis to witness ‘breakthrough’ within days: sources

Tue, Mar. 6, 2018
CAIRO – 6 March 2018: Well-informed sources revealed that the Arab quartet-Qatar crisis will witness a breakthrough within a few days, owing to intensive efforts exerted by the United States and Kuwait recently to resolve the political boycott that erupted in June 2017, according to Egyptian columnist Youssef Ayoub.

“Sources disclosed that U.S. Special Envoy on the Qatar dispute Anthony Zinni will pay a tour to some Arab countries to offer various proposals to solve the crisis,” Ayoub added in his report on March 5, 2018.

Zinni arrived in Cairo on Monday to meet with Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry. Moreover, Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah will arrive in Cairo on Tuesday to take part in the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting.

Al-Sabah is expected to convey a message from Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi about the Qatari crisis. “This message will be handed over to Shoukry,” Ayoub added.

An Arab diplomat affirmed to Ayoub that the U.S. administration has done its best to secure a unified Arab front against Iran in the region. “The U.S. believes that the intra-Arab crisis works in favor of Iran and hinders the formation of any international alliance against Iran,” he stated

In May, U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to host an American-Gulf summit at Camp David following the end of the dispute between the four Arab countries (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain) on one hand and Qatar on the other, Ayoub stressed.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan at a meeting in Manama, Bahrain-Reuters

The 29th Arab League Summit

On March 23, the 29th Arab League Summit in Riyadh is expected to take place amid speculations that the boycott of Qatar may be postponed.

On June 5, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar over its alleged support of terrorist groups, extremists and Iran. For its part, Doha has denied the charges.

The participation of Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in the Riyadh summit is deemed a real impasse, as the Saudi rulers would not accept the presence of the Qatari emir in Saudi territory before an official acceptance and approval of the Arab quartet’s fourteen principles.

As a Member State of the Arab League, Saudi Arabia has to send official invitations to all Arab countries in order to attend the Arab Summit in Riyadh. However, sending an invitation to Qatar is against the kingdom’s political will. Ayoub revealed that Qatar will never hesitate to attend the summit, noting that “Saudi Arabia is in a deep mess, as it can never prevent Qatari participation in the Arab Summit.”

Political observers believe that freezing Qatar’s membership of the Arab League may be a solution to prevent a Saudi political and diplomatic violation that could be committed if the Saudi side seeks to prevent Qatar’s participation in the upcoming summit in Riyadh.

Deletes meet for the annual meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo in 2016. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)
Doha seeks to restore ties with Egypt

Although Kuwait has played the role of mediator in the Arab quartet-Qatar fallout, Tarek Fahmy, professor of political science at Cairo University, said that Kuwait and other countries are no longer playing this role.

"Middle Eastern countries should put their differences aside and forge a security pact similar to that of the EU," said Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad on February 17 during a security conference in Munich.

On January 25, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani said that Doha aims to improve relations with Cairo.

Al-Thani had stated during the four-day World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 that Qatar supports Egypt’s political stability. “Those who said that Qatar is trying to destabilize Egypt are making false allegations,” he said, despite several cases revealed by the Egyptian security authorities proving Qatar's involvement in providing financial support to terror groups in Egypt.

Regretting the currently severed relations between Egypt and Qatar, Al-Thani said that Qatar aims to “bridge the gap” with Egypt, RT reported.

During his speech at the Nixon Center in Washington in November 2017, Al-Thani said that Egypt’s stability and security is an integral part of Qatar's interests, denying the Qatari regime's responsibility for cutting relations with Egypt, Sputnik reported.
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