RIYADH - Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal has warned there will only be rapprochement between Riyadh and Doha when Qatar “modifies” policies at the centre of their spat, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates earlier this month recalled their ambassadors from Qatar after accusing the fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) state of interfering in their internal affairs and of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar is widely seen as a supporter of the Brotherhood and its affiliates, which are banned in most Gulf states. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies have long been hostile toward the Brotherhood, fearing that its brand of grassroots activism could undermine their authority.
“There will be detente if Qatar modifies the policies that are at the origin of the crisis” with its neighbours, Prince Saud said in a short statement published by pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat on Tuesday.
The minister added, in response to a question from the newspaper, that there will be “no American mediation to put an end to the crisis”. President Barack Obama is expected to visit Riyadh at the end of March. Saudi Arabia at a March 5 meeting of the GCC demanded that Doha shut down the Qatari-owned television station Al-Jazeera, an informed source said.
Riyadh at the meeting also called for the closure of two think-tanks based in Qatar, the Brookings Doha Centre and the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies.
Critics have accused influential network Al-Jazeera of biased coverage in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood, and several of its journalists are on trial in Egypt for allegedly supporting the group. The GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.