GCC backs off its rejection of Egypt’s barbs to Qatar
Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani - YOUM7

CAIRO:  The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) backed off Thursday its rejection to the comments made by Egypt’s delegate at the Arab League Thursday, accusing Qatar of “supporting terrorism.”

Hours after being published on the GCC’s official website,  Zayani’s statement, in which he condemned the Egyptian representative to the Arab League Ambassador Tariq Adel’s remarks Wednesday against Qatar, has been removed.

“The Cooperation Council states always support and sustain the Arab Republic of Egypt under the leadership of the President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in all fields as it was translated in the Riyadh Agreement and the Riyadh Supplementary Agreement which were signed by the Majesties and Highnesses the leaders of the Council,” Zayani’s second statement read.

Under the Riyadh Supplementary Agreement, Qatar and its state-owned TV network Al Jazeera should not interfere in Egyptian affairs.

He added in the second statement that Egypt’s security and stability is “part and parcel” of the Gulf Security and stability, continuing that the Gulf states have affirmed their support to Egyptian people’s counter-terrorism efforts and to the military measures against the “terrorists group in Libya.”

First statement

In his first statement, Zayani said that Adel’s remarks as “baseless accusations that defy the truth and ignore the sincere efforts made by the State of Qatar with GCC member states and the Arab countries to combat terrorism and extremism at all levels.”

Following the Wednesday meeting of AL’s representatives who expressed its “complete understanding” over the airstrike in Libya, Adel accused Qatar of “supporting terrorism” after Doha had reservations for the Arab League’s statement hailed the strike.

On Monday, Egypt army in coordination with the army of the Libyan Tobruk-based government launched airstrikes against the militants of Islamic State (IS) group in Libya, few hours following the publication of IS’s video in which 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were beheaded.

Al-Zayani said that Adel’s statement “does not help to consolidate Arab solidarity as it coincides with a critical period when several Arab countries face challenges threatening their stability and national security.”

“Qatar’s reservation over the Egyptian airstrike in Libya is in line with the Treaty of Joint Defense and Economic Co-operation of the League of Arab States stipulating consultation among the signatories of the treaty before conducting any military operations on any contracting state,” said al- Zayani.

“The statement does not represent the Cooperation Council states and all Gulf States expressed its reservations over it,” Saudi highly-ranked officials, refused to be mentioned because they are not authorized to speak to media, told Youm7 Thursday.

The Gulf States showed their support to Egypt against the terrorism and condemnation of beheading the Coptic Christians, the official added.

Cairo-Doha strained diplomatic ties

Few hours after Adel’s accusation against Qatar, Doha recalled its ambassador to Cairo Wednesday, saying such remarks are “unfounded accusations,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry stated Wednesday that Doha’s reservation is based on Egypt’s “unilateral decision to carry out air strike in Libya without consultations with other Arab countries,” according to QNA.

After the ouster of Morsi on July 3, 2013, Qatar, a critical ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, condemned his ouster by the army after mass protests called for the end of his regime on June 30, 2013. Since then, relations between both sides have strained.

Oil-rich Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait have supported the current Sisi regime, providing it with $20 million in aid.

As a means to pressure Qatar to stop its criticism of Egypt’s Sisi and his regime, Saudi Arabia and the UAE had asked their ambassadors to withdraw from Qatar last March following Qatar’s alleged violations of established agreements with the GCC not to interfere in other Arab states’ foreign affairs.

Additional Reporting by Yossif Ayoub and Rany Mostafa


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