DOHA: Qatar yesterday expressed regret and surprise over the decision by three GCC countries — Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain — to withdraw their ambassadors from Doha.
Qatar said it will not retaliate by pulling out its envoys in the three countries because it is “keen on brotherly ties between people of Qatar and other GCC states”.
A joint statement by the three countries yesterday said they are withdrawing their ambassadors because Doha had not implemented an agreement among GCC countries not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs. They said the move was necessary “to protect their security and stability”.
The State Cabinet, responding to this unprecedented decision, said in a statement: “The move taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have nothing to do with their national interests nor their security and stability, but there is a difference of opinion and position on a number of issues outside the Gulf Cooperation Council.”
The statement added that “Qatar was and will always be committed to GCC values, and “this is what prevents Qatar from taking a similar procedure of recalling its ambassadors”. The Cabinet reiterated Qatar’s “continued commitment to the principles on which GCC was based and the implementation of its obligations in line with GCC states’ agreements on preserving and maintaining their security and stability.”
A security agreement signed last year by the GCC focused on cooperation in the exchange of information and tracking down of criminals and those who broke the law. The joint statement by the three countries said GCC members had signed an agreement on November 23 not to back “anyone threatening the security and stability of the GCC whether as groups or individuals — via direct security work or through political influence, and not to support hostile media”.
The GCC foreign ministers had met in Riyadh on Tuesday to try to persuade Qatar to implement the agreement, it added.
“But unfortunately, these efforts did not result in Qatar’s agreement to abide by these measures, which prompted the three countries to start what they saw as necessary, to protect their security and stability, by withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar starting from today, March 5 2013,” the statement said.
Kuwait’s parliament Speaker Marzouq Al Ghanim said he was concerned by its implications. There were not comments from Oman yesterday.
Qatar has drawn criticism from some other GCC countries, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia for its perceived support of Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and some other Middle Eastern countries, news agencies reported yesterday. Qatar denounced last year’s ouster of Egypt’s president Mohamed Mursi, who belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood.