Gulf states agree deal to end Qatar tensions
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Last Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014, 08:56
  
Jeddah: Gulf foreign ministers agreed a deal to end months of unprecedented tension between Qatar and other members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council over the Muslim Brotherhood.

At an extraordinary meeting in Riyadh, the ministers agreed that the policies of GCC member states should not undermine the "interests, security and stability" of each other, a statement said yesterday. Such policies must also not affect the "sovereignty" of a member state. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar last month, accusing it of meddling in their internal affairs and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

The three states said at the time that Doha had failed to comply with a commitment by Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, to non-interference, made during a summit in Riyadh last year with Kuwait's emir and the Saudi monarch. During the tripartite meeting in Riyadh in November, Kuwait's emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah sought to ease tensions between Saudi King Abdullah and Sheikh Tamim.

Yesterday, the foreign ministers met for more than two hours at a Riyadh air base and agreed on an "implementation mechanism" to the November agreement, the GCC statement said. Tensions rose because Doha supported Egypt's Islamist president Mohamed Morsi while most Gulf countries hailed his overthrow by the army last July.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies have long been hostile towards Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, fearing that its brand of grass-roots activism and political Islam could undermine their authority.

Tensions that had been simmering for months peaked in early February when Abu Dhabi summoned Doha's ambassador to protest against "insults" to the UAE by Egypt-born cleric Yusef al-Qaradawi, a Qatari citizen.

The coverage of the influential Doha-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel, seen by critics as biased in favour of the Brotherhood, has also increased tensions between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours.

AFP

First Published: Friday, April 18, 2014, 08:56


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