Russia looks to resolve Qatar crisis
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has been in Russia trying to address the embargo by its neighbours and says dialogue will solve the diplomatic crisis dividing the West Asian region.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the ministers spoke on the phone and “discussed the consequences of the decision by a number of Arab countries to break diplomatic ties with Qatar”.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and smaller countries severed relations with Qatar (pictured), accusing it of supporting “terror”.
Qatar says the claims are “baseless”.
Behind the allegations appears to be the Arab states’ hatred of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera and its most popular religious broadcast, Sharia and Life.
Its presenter Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric and a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, has expressed vocal support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists that infuriated the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Moscow appears keen to help out.
“Sergey Lavrov and Rex Tillerson pointed to the need of resolving disagreements through negotiations and expressed their willingness to contribute to such efforts,” the ministry announced.
The pair “agreed to continue contacts on other international problems, including the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and the Ukrainian crisis”, Moscow said in a statement.
Lavrov said Russia was “ready to try to do everything in its power” to end the diplomatic crisis.
“We cannot be happy in a situation when the relations between our partners are worsening. We are in favour of resolving any disagreements through… dialogue,” the veteran minister said.
The three Gulf states have imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Doha, and ordered all the tiny state’s citizens to leave their territory within 14 days, while calling their nationals to return home.
Doha said it had been leading the region with its attacks on the roots of “terrorism”, including giving young citizens hope through jobs, educating thousands of Syrian refugees and funding community programmes to challenge armed groups.
“Our position on countering terrorism is stronger than many of the signatories of the joint statement – a fact that has been conveniently ignored by the authors,” Qatar said.
Moscow appears hesitant to choose sides amid major differences with Qatar over the Syrian civil war.
Russia and Iran are the main backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Qatar supports rebel groups fighting.
Charmless Qatar. Picture credit: Flickr