Gulf has changed, UAE says on anniversary of Qatar rift

Reuters , Friday 5 Jun 2020

Anwar Gargash AFP
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash (AFP)

On the third anniversary of a feud pitting Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar, the United Arab Emirates said the Gulf had changed and could not return to how it was.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain abruptly cut diplomatic, economic and travel ties with Doha on June 5, 2017, insisting Qatar was too close to Iran and funding radical Islamist movements.

Gas-rich Qatar fiercely rejected the allegations and refused to budge on 13 demands made by its allies-turned-adversaries, including the closure of the Doha-based Al Jazeera news network and shutting a Turkish military base in the emirate.

"I do not think that the Qatar crisis, on its third anniversary, deserves comment", UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter.

"Paths have diverged and the Gulf has changed and cannot go back to what it was", he said.

Despite a flurry of positive signs at the end of last year, including a round of shuttle diplomacy that saw the Qatari foreign minister visit Saudi Arabia for talks, the freeze shows no sign of thawing.

"The causes of the crises are known, and the solution is also known and will come in time", Gargash said, without elaborating.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani tweeted that Doha had always called for "unconditional dialogue based on equality, respect for sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs" to settle the crisis.

His country's position "will not change", he added.

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