Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE withdraw ambassadors from Qatar

By bne IntelliNews March 5, 2014

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE decided to withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar in a new diplomatic row with the tiny but gas-rich state which has largely inflated its regional role in recent years, the state news agency WAM reported on March 5.  Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE accused Qatar of meddling in internal affairs of other regional countries, according to a joint statement.

The three countries claimed that Qatar has failed to commit to an agreement it signed in November 2013 in Riyadh. The agreement calls on all GCC states not to interfere directly or indirectly in other countries’ internal affairs and not to support any act that might threaten the security and stability of the GCC states.

The joint statement also said that during a meeting held on Monday (March 3) in Riyadh, the three countries made "major efforts to convince Qatar" to abide by the 2013 GCC agreement on joint security.

"With the greatest regret" Qatar had failed to comply, the statement said, without corroborating further.

The recall of the ambassadors was thus crucial to ensure "security and stability", the statement read.

Qatar, which boasts large financials and hosts the controversial Al-Jazeera news network, has been criticised for its alleged role in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and financing extremists currently fighting against the Syrian Assad regime.

Saudi Arabia, which claims to be the GCC’s leading geopolitical and economic powerhouse, has been implicitly objecting to Qatar’s inflated influence and role in the Middle Eastern politics. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, moreover, consider the Muslim Brotherhood as their historical and ideological enemy.

Earlier this week, a Qatari citizen was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in the UAE for supporting a group affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt's new government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait, has also recently charged nine Al-Jazeera journalists of “aiding a terrorist organisation,” meaning the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Qatari case is the newest in a series of internal bickering among the six GCC states that have so far failed to agree on a joint currency, customs and military union as both Qatar and Oman remain on the loose. 

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