Qatar-Saudi Tussle Boils Over at Cairo Meeting

Qatar-Saudi Tussle Boils Over at Cairo MeetingQatar-Saudi Tussle Boils Over at Cairo Meeting

Diplomats from Qatar and the four states blockading the Persian Gulf nation have exchanged heated words at an Arab League meeting in Cairo where a Qatari diplomat said “dogs” backed by “some regimes” are waging a media campaign against his country.

Tuesday’s row, which erupted on live television, is the latest chapter in the three-month-old Persian Gulf crisis in which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain are blockading Qatar, Al Jazeera reported.

The coalition cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar on June 5, suspending air and shipping routes to their Persian Gulf neighbor.

The four Arab states have accused Doha of financing “terrorism”. Qatar has rejected the allegation as “baseless”.

During his opening speech, Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad al-Muraikhi referred to Iran as an “honorable country” and said ties had warmed with its neighbor since the blockade.

In response, Ahmed al-Kattan, Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the Arab League, said: “Congratulations to Iran and soon, God willing, you will regret it.”

“If the brethren in Qatar think they may have a benefit in their rapprochement with Iran, I’d like to say that they have this evaluation wrong in every way. The Qataris will be held responsible for such a decision.”

He added that in “the coming days will prove them wrong because we know that the Qatari people will never accept the Iranians to play a role in Qatar”.

The Qatari diplomat lamented Kattan’s tone in the exchange, saying: “[It] is all threats and I don’t think he has the authority to threaten and speak like this.”

The exchange then descended into a row between Kattan and Muraikhi, with each telling the other to be quiet.

Muraikhi said Saudi Arabia was looking to depose the emir of Qatar and replace him with Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani, a little-known Qatari sheikh who has been thrust into the limelight by the Saudi-led bloc.

“This is an improper thing to say because the kingdom of Saudi Arabia will never resort to such cheap methods and we don’t want to change the regime, but you must also know that the kingdom can do anything it wants, God willing,” Kattan said.


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