A year on, the pressure on Qatar shows no sign of letting up
Abu Dhabi — The four Arab states facing off against Qatar in the Gulf diplomatic crisis will not ease up pressure one year after launching their boycott, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said Thursday.
"The four countries have made their point. They don’t have to escalate. We have become more or less accustomed to dealing with our region through isolation of Qatar," minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash told Abu Dhabi-based The National newspaper. "The onus is on Qatar if it really wants to come out of its current isolation."
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Doha on June 5 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and Iran.
Qatar, a small peninsula nation, found its only land border closed, its state-owned airline barred from using its neighbours’ airspace, and Qatari residents expelled from the boycotting countries.
Doha was handed a list of 13 demands, including closing broadcaster Al Jazeera, removing Turkish troops from the country and scaling back its co-operation with Iran, with which it shares the world’s largest gas field.
Qatar has not fulfilled any of these, but Gargash insisted they remain a basis for talks even as a "deficit of trust" continues. In the interview, Gargash accused Qatar of "undermining the Bahraini regime" and "systematically supporting Saudi opposition" by providing a "platform to try and play a seditious role".
He called on Doha to halt its alleged support for extremism and links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, insisting "it can change its policies and end this crisis. We hope that it will".
Qatar has denied all the allegations against it and remains defiant. "One year on and Qatar and its people are stronger," foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani tweeted on Tuesday.