Middle EastSaudi Arabia

Qatar lobbying with UNSC members to lift Saudi-led bans


Qatar has been lobbying with the non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against a Saudi-led embargo of the country.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani met with the representatives of the UNSC member states at the Qatari mission to the UN in New York on Friday, urging them to press the sanctioning countries to lift the blockade and to speak out publicly in support of his country, Al Jazeera reported.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties and cut all land, sea, and air contacts with Qatar on June 5. The four countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region, allegations denied by Doha.

The countries later issued a list of demands for Qatar to meet in return for a normalization of ties. Among them was that Qatar shut down Al Jazeera, a media network that has reportedly been critical especially of Saudi Arabia, close a Turkish military base, limit its ties with Iran, and “compensate” the sanctioning countries.

Doha has refused to meet the demands, calling them unreasonable, and said it would not negotiate with the countries unless the blockade has been lifted.

Separately, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry reacted to the refusal, saying this was not the first time Qatar was standing up to Riyadh’s demands, Saudi paper Okaz reported. The Ministry claimed that Doha had “endangered” Saudi national security, and that it continued to lend support to “terrorist groups.”

Al Thani told Al Jazeera that he had given the UNSC members “updates on the situation” and urged “all of them to call for a lifting of the blockade on Qatar.” Qatar was “trying to encourage all the parties to enter a serious dialog to try to put an end to this,” he said.

A day earlier, he had met with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (L) and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stand together before a meeting at the US State Department, in Washington, DC, June 27, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Tillerson reportedly promised to try to help resolve the Persian Gulf crisis.

The Qatari top diplomat was set to return to Doha soon, where “his country will continue to press its case with a number of different organization like the [UN] International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization, and the Human Rights Council in Geneva,” Al Jazeera added.

The blockade has forced Qatar to reroute certain flights, and the country’s Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Saif Al Sulaiti has met twice this past week with ICAO officials at the body’s headquarters in Montreal, asking it to intervene in the crisis.

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