Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Arab states seek to step up pressure on Qatar over 2013 accord
Four Arab states sought on Monday to pile pressure on Qatar over charges it backs terrorism, saying the publication of a previously secret accord between Riyadh and Doha showed Qatar broke a promise not to meddle in the affairs of Gulf countries. The text of the 2013 agreement, whose existence was known but whose contents have never before been made public, was first published by CNN on Monday and later released on social media by Saudi officials.
In a joint statement, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt said the publication of the accord, meant to settle a previous dispute between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours, "confirms beyond any doubt Qatar's failure to meet its commitments and its full violation of its pledges."
In a new round of tension with Qatar, the four states slapped sanctions on Doha on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism, cosying up to Iran, backing the Muslim Brotherhood - the world's oldest Islamist organisation, and interference in their affairs. The four say Qatar pledged to desist from interfering in its neighbours' politics in the 2013 agreement. Qatar has rejected the charges and said the four countries are trying to impose their own views on its foreign policies. The document surfaced as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in the region to help Washington's allies hammer out a way out of the crisis that has divided the region.
Qatar officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in a statement to CNN, Qatar accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of breaking the spirit of the Riyadh agreement and indulging in an "unprovoked attack on Qatar's sovereignty."