Saudi Arabia marginalizes Qatar crisis



Thu, 08 Mar 2018 - 12:41 GMT


Thu, 08 Mar 2018 - 12:41 GMT

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman –Press photo

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman –Press photo

CAIRO – 8 March 2018: During his three-day visit to Egypt, Saudi Prince Mohamed bin Salman (MBS) told Egyptian media on Monday that any minster in the kingdom can resolve the Qatar crisis and that he finds it very trivial.

MBS said that Qatar’s boycott could continue for decades, like the United States’ boycott on Cuba since 1959, noting how the U.S. isolated the Communist island economically and diplomatically for decades.

“Qatar’s population is less than the number of residents of a street in Egypt,” MBS added.

On Iran, MBS condemned the “hostile practices” by Tehran, stressing that the regime in Iran was a paper tiger.

Bin Salman’s visit is the first public trip abroad since he became Crown Prince last year and purged the country's political and economic elite in an anti-corruption drive.

In June 2017, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and Iran, which Doha has denied.

Under the same context, Qatar is heading for reconciliation language, calling for open dialogue to resolve the crisis, which will affect Qatar's economy and its external relations.

However, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said, "There will be no escalating measures from Qatar, because they think that such differences between brotherly countries should be resolved at a dialogue table… To narrow areas of difference while respecting each other’s views.”

On January 25, Qatar’s Foreign Minister also 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 ties 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.

Furthermore, Kuwait started to mediate between the tiny Gulf emirate and the boycotting countries, where Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad arrived to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in an attempt to bring the views closer.

During the crisis, the United States strengthened its partnership with Qatar, repeatedly praised its efforts for "counter-terrorism" and signed huge arms contracts with Qatar.

Turkey and Iran were also sending aid to Qatar, such as food and oil, as well as military aid.

On Monday, the U.S. special representative on Qatar, Anthony Zinni, came to Egypt and met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss updates on the Qatar boycott; this came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump called President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi to discuss ties between Egypt and the U.S.

According to Egyptian columnist Youssef Ayoub, the Qatar crisis will witness a breakthrough within few days, owing to intensive efforts recently exerted by the United States and Kuwait to resolve the political boycott.

“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.

However, President Sisi welcomed MBS on his first official visit to Egypt as heir to the throne. The president emphasized that Egypt’s leadership and people hold high regard and appreciation for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, given the historically strong ties between the two countries.

President Sisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman witnessed on Sunday the signing of multiple agreements between Egypt and the Saudi kingdom.

The agreements included launching an investment fund between both states, a boost in coordination between free trade zones in Egypt and KSA, and reaching an environmental protection agreement.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman's visit to Egypt on Sunday came to boost the strength of bilateral strategic relations, Egypt's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Nasser Hamdi said earlier on Sunday.



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