1 Year into boycott, foreign mediations to solve Gulf crisis



Tue, 05 Jun 2018 - 11:14 GMT


Tue, 05 Jun 2018 - 11:14 GMT

Arab Quartet-FILE

Arab Quartet-FILE

CAIRO – 5 June 2018: The diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the Arab Quartet enters its second year on June 5. Several countries, particularly Kuwait, have sought to mediate the crisis and prevent any escalation in the regional tensions.

The Arab Quartet, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut off their diplomatic relations with Qatar because of Doha’s support of terrorism, something Doha strongly denies.

In a sign of the boycott’s potential consequences for Qatari economy, many banks in the region have stepped back from business dealings with Qatar.

In this regard, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani said that Doha is ready for mediation efforts to end the crisis.

Kuwait’s mediation

Two states in the six- member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) did not cut ties with Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, which is consistent with their neutral foreign policies.
Shortly after the Qatari crisis had erupted, Kuwait stepped in to mediate and prevent any escalation in the regional tensions.

A day after the Arab Quartet had severed ties with Qatar, Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE to hold talks over the Gulf Arab disputes with Qatar. Afterwards, Sabah headed to Qatar in hopes to solve the diplomatic spat between the Gulf countries.
Arab demands from Qatar
Infographic:Arab demands from Qatar
GCC member, Kuwait, has launched mediation efforts; however, Doha has rejected the 13 demands made by the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) and has not shown any sign of disassociating itself from the terrorist groups, foiling the mediation attempt.

Kuwait also announced its readiness to host the Gulf Summit in December, amid hopes that the dispute would be mostly resolved by then.

Additionally, Kuwait and France intensified their efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis between Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on one side and Qatar on the other. Hence, the French foreign minister headed to Doha, while the Kuwaiti Emir headed to the United States.
Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah - REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The Kuwaiti Emir paid an official visit to the U.S. on September 4, 2017, during which he met with U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss Kuwait’s efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis and ways of cooperation to fight terrorism, and support regional security and the Middle East peace process, among other bilateral files.

Morocco’s mediation

King Mohammed VI of Morocco offered to mediate in order to resolve the unprecedented Gulf crisis during his visit to Qatar. Moroccan mediation started on November 13, 2017, according to Sputnik News agency.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco reviews a guard of honour at the National palace during his state visit to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

King Mohammed arrived in Qatar as a part of his Gulf tour to discuss the latest international and Arab developments in the region. The discussions especially tackled the Gulf crisis after a four-day visit to the United Arab Emirates. It was the first time that King Mohammed visited the Gulf region since the boycott.

Although Morocco is strongly associated with the Gulf countries, Rabat favors constructive neutrality in the crisis and has been careful not to issue any hasty public statements.

Since the beginning of the crisis in June, Morocco has declared that it feels intimately concerned about the crisis. Morocco called on all parties to be wise and to reduce tension, overcome this crisis and finally settle the causes that led to it.

“Morocco aims to support the stability ofall countries for the Gulf Cooperation Council to keep its privileged position,” the statement released by the Moroccan Foreign Ministry in July2017 read.

The statement also referred that Morocco is ready to exert efforts to encourage an inclusive dialogue focusing on the noninterference in interior affairs and combating extremism.

Other foreign mediation

Several countries since the beginning of the boycott have been trying to mediate the crisis, solve it, and defuse the tension.
Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani (R) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson following a joint news conference in Doha, Qatar, July 11, 2017 REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held several meetings with the disputed parties to heal the rift, but the discussions reached a stalemate.
President Donald Trump meets with the Emir of Qatar during their bilateral meeting, Sunday, May 21, 2017, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

In addition, U.S. President Trump declared in September his willingness to step in and mediate the worst dispute in decades among the U.S.-allied Arab states and Qatar.

Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan also paid a visit in July 2017, to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar to wade deeper in the Gulf crisis and to declare his willingness to contribute in solving the crisis.

Ankara has been a strong ally to Qatar since it was isolated by the four nations. Turkey has shipped it food and expanded its military presence. However, Turkish mediation was excluded because of the unwavering, expanded support it has extended to Doha and due to its stanceon the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Despite all the diplomatic efforts to end the crisis, a solution has not been reached yet and the crisis is still ongoing without a quick fix to the spat. The Gulf States need a clear signal that Qatar is willing to reexamine its position regarding extremism and terrorism.



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