Opinion and Editorial

Resolving the Qatar diplomatic crisis: Are we there yet?

Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's desk)
Filed on December 12, 2019 | Last updated on December 12, 2019 at 06.43 am
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.- AP

The important annual summit was a great opportunity to put the past behind and start afresh.

It raised a lot of hopes, this recently concluded Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh. The annual meeting of the leaders of the GCC states that concluded on Tuesday was being pegged as a big and bold step towards the logical resolution of the 30-month-long Qatar diplomatic row. The Arab quarter of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar for its support to extremists, a charge that Doha denies. The important annual summit was a great opportunity to put the past behind and start afresh. The hope was that, as leaders of GCC states get together and greet each other, the first steps towards a thaw in the relations would have been taken. It wasn't to be, though.

Instead of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who was invited via a written message from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, it was the country's Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani who headed the Qatari delegation at the Riyadh summit. Bahrain's Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa says he's disappointed at "Qatar's lack of seriousness in ending its crisis," maintaining that the Qatari PM did not have the authorisation that could have contributed to solving the crisis.

Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, echoed the sentiment when he tweeted that he believed that the emir not attending the summit was a miscalculation on behalf of Qatar. The cause of the dispute, he noted, must be addressed for it to come to its logical conclusion. Gulf nations have maintained that the diplomatic relationships with Qatar could be restored if Qatar acknowledged their demands and took steps to address their concerns. "Addressing long-term genuine grievances of the four states (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt) is at the heart of resolving (the) Qatar crisis," Dr Gargash tweeted. So are we there yet in resolving the two-and-a-half-year-long dispute? "We are not there yet. That is the view from the Riyadh Summit," tweeted Dr Gargash.

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