PARIS — A United Arab Emirates (UAE) minister said on Monday that Qatar’s isolation could continue “for years” if it did not alter its foreign policy and said a list of their grievances would be completed in the next few days.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar on June 5 and many other countries followed suit.
“Qatar will realize that this is a new state of affairs and isolation can last years,” Anwar Gargash UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs told a group of reporters in Paris.
“We don’t really see an escalation, but isolation. You are part of our team, but you keep scoring an own goal,” he said.
“If they want to be isolated because of their perverted view of what their political role is, then let them be isolated. They are still in a phase of denial and anger,” Gargash said, citing Qatar’s support of terror groups.
“They have built a sophisticated podium for jihadism and extremism, we have a golden opportunity to break this support,” he said.
The minister said a solution could not be brokered until Qatar abandoned its support for extremist groups.
“The Kuwaiti mediation will be very useful and there will be demands coming,” Gargash said.
He said the priority concern was in dealing with Doha’s links to Al-Qaeda-linked and other terror groups across the region as well as its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian Hamas group.
Gargash said there was a risk Iran and Turkey would try to fill the vacuum caused by the rift, but urged Ankara, which has supported Doha, to be neutral.
“It’s early days. Turkey is trying to balance between its ideological zeal and its national interests. We are still in the phase and let’s hope they are wise and understand that it’s in its best interest…what we are doing,” he said.
Gargash, who was in Paris as part of efforts to lobby European allies to put pressure on Doha, said he believed that when Qatar did back down, there would be a need to monitor its activities in the region, something Western powers could undertake.
“There is no trust. So far it’s an idea to create a monitoring system…France, Britain, US or Germany could monitor because they have the diplomatic clout and technical know-how,” the minister said. — Agencies