In a shock move, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday recalled their Envoys to Qatar.
The three countries said the move was taken “to protect their security and stability,” a Saudi Press Agency (SPA) statement said
The trio also said that Qatar had not “committed to the principles” of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and said “Qatar has to take the appropriate steps to ensure the security of the GCC states.”
They made the decision following what Gulf media described as a “stormy” late Tuesday meeting of Foreign Ministers from the GCC in Riyadh, according to AFP.
The GCC Foreign Ministers said they had met in Riyadh to try to persuade Qatar to implement the agreement.
“But unfortunately, these efforts did not result in Qatar's agreement to abide by these measures, which prompted the three countries to start what they saw as necessary, to protect their security and stability, by withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar starting from today, March 5 2013,” the statement said.
GCC countries “have exerted massive efforts to contact Qatar on all levels to agree on a unified policy... to ensure non-interference, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any member state,” the statement said.
The nations have also asked Qatar, a backer of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that is banned in most Gulf states, “not to support any party aiming to threaten security and stability of any GCC member,” it added, citing media campaigns against them in particular.
The statement stressed that despite the commitment of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to these principles during a mini-summit held in Riyadh in November with Kuwait's Emir and the Saudi King, his country has failed to comply.
A security agreement signed last year by the GCC focused on cooperation in the exchange of information and tracking down of criminals and those who violate the law.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Cabinet has issued a statement expressing Doha’s “regret and surprise” at the decision of the sisterly countries of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain to withdraw their Ambassadors from Doha. The step “has nothing to do with the interests, security and stability of GCC people but rather a difference in positions on issues out of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC),” the Cabinet said in a statement issued in Doha on Wednesday.
It added that Qatar was and will always be committed to GCC values, and thus, is “absolutely keen on brotherly ties between the Qatari people and fellow brotherly GCC peoples, which prevent Qatar from taking a similar procedure of recalling its Ambassadors.”
The Cabinet reiterated Qatar's “continued commitment to the principles on which GCC was based and the implementation of its obligations in line with GCC states’ agreements on preserving and maintaining their security and stability.”
Source: SPA; QNA; AFP