Saudi Arabia says ‘grievances’ with Qatar to be made public soon

Foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir calls on Doha to heed calls to stop supporting extremism and terrorism as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE explain reasons for action against Qatar and rebut Qatari accusations.

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LONDON // Qatar should respond to calls to stop supporting extremism and terrorism, which are being made by the whole world and not just Gulf states, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Friday

Adel Al Jubeir said a list of grievances regarding Qatar’s actions was being drawn up and would be made public soon.

“I would not call them demands. I would say it is a list of grievances that need to be addressed and that the Qataris need to fix,” he said.

“We are working on those with our Bahraini, Emirati and Egyptian partners in order to compile this list and present it to the Qataris, and I think it will be done fairly soon,” Mr Al Jubeir told reporters in London.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar on June 5 over its support for extremist militants and Iran, charges that Doha denies.

The Bahraini foreign minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa was also in London on Friday and held talks with the British foreign secretary Boris Johnson. They discussed enhanced cooperation and coordination, especially to counter the increased threat from terrorist organisations and to deter those who support, finance and shelter them, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Meanwhile, the UAE Minister of State Dr Sultan Al Jaber discussed the actions against Qatar with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

“For 22 years, Qatar has adopted policies that undermined regional and global security, through the direct or indirect finance of terrorism or by supporting media outlets that enable terrorist groups to promote their twisted, violent and extremist ideologies,” Dr Al Jaber said.

He said the measures taken by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt came after exhausting all other attempts to change the course of Qatar’s policy of simultaneously combating and supporting terrorism.

“The decision to sever ties with Qatar was a clear message to its regime, that it is time for Doha to change the course and approach it has followed for many years, to undermine regional security and stability by providing support for extremism and terrorism,” he said.

Dr Al Jaber also reviewed with Mr Lavrov the list of designated terrorist organisations and individuals supported by Qatar, which was issued by Saudi Arabia and the UAE last week.

“Qatar has failed to honour the pledge it made in 2013, to refrain from funding terrorism, interfering in the internal affairs of other countries in the region and destabilising these countries. This led to the decision of the ban, to press Doha to back down from such practices, which negatively affect the people of Qatar in the first place,” he said.

He said Qatar was attempting to distort facts by trying to project the measures taken as a blockade targeting the Qatari people.

“This is untrue, given that Qatar can still use several air and sea routes. Qatar is still engaged in double standards through its misleading media, which promotes terrorism and extremist ideologies,” he added.

A delegation of Saudi, UAE, Bahraini and Egyptian officials visited the International Civil Aviation Organisation headquarters in Montreal, Canada, on Thursday to counter the Qatari claim.

The delegation, which included Saudi transport minister Sulaiman Al Hamdan, Bahraini transport minister Mohamed Kamal, the director general of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority Saif Al Suwaidi, and Hani Al Adawi, chairman of Egypt’s civil aviation authority, presented maps and data showing that Qatari ports were open and its aircraft had access to international routes and airspaces of other countries.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain also rebutted concerns raised by the UN human rights commissioner this week about the effect of their joint action on Qatari citizens.

They pointed out that the measures taken were to protect their national security after exhausting alternatives following Qatar’s failure to honour its previous agreement and continuing support for terrorist, extremist and sectarian organisations.

Moreover, measures had been taken to address humanitarian and health cases, and hotlines set up for seeking appropriate action, the three countries said in a joint statement by their permanent missions to the UN headquarters in Geneva.

Kuwait, Oman and other countries have been trying mediate an end to the dispute, the Gulf’s biggest diplomatic crisis in years.

On Friday, the Turkish foreign minister arrived in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Salman. Mevlut Cavusoglu’s trip to Mecca, where the Saudi king is based for the last days of Ramadan, follows a meeting with his Kuwaiti counterpart on Thursday.

* Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Wam