Gulf nations make peace after rift over Qatar's MB support

'No criticism of other GCC members'

24 April, 16:53

    Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

    (by Alessandra Antonelli) (ANSAmed) - DUBAI - The crisis between Gulf nations sparked by Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood has subsided, the oil-rich emirate announced after an agreement between it and other Gulf nations last week.

    Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE had recently withdrawn their ambassadors from Doha over sharp differences of views, something that had never before occurred among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). ''The statement released on April 17 in Riyadh is clear,'' Qatari foreign minister Khalid Al-Attiyah said in a press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sabah Khalid Al Sabah, on Wednesday evening. ''The crisis is a thing of the past.'' Kuwait offered to mediate after Riyadh, Manama and Abu Dhabi suspended diplomatic relations with Doha in early March. Al-Attiyah noted that the agreement had ''achieved a balance in which none of the parties involved had to make concessions''.

    The new accord is basically a reworking of the November agreement in which Qatar pledged not to interfere with the domestic policies of neighboring nations, the violation of which led to a crisis in March. The interference consisted in Qatar's backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, who use its territory and media to launch attacks on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, where the organization is illegal (classified as a terrorist organization in Saudi Arabia) and activists supporting it are regularly arrested and sentenced to prison terms. Individual incidents as well as Doha-based satellite channel Al Jazeera's tone and content angered the three GCC members.

    The rift come to a peak during last year's vicissitudes in Egypt, where Qatar supported ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi and GCC nations supported the subsequent government. Al Jazeera will tone down its approach, say unofficial sources, and preachers appearing on it will be prohibited from criticizing or lashing out at the policies of other GCC countries. The most controversial figure in the matter, Yusuf Al-Qardawi, who stirred up the inhabitants of neighboring countries with his fiery sermons, will not be required to leave the country as had initially been thought. Noting his strong ties to the emirs (father and son) and that his preaching had never represented the government's stance, 88-year-old Al-Qardawi (who has been in Qatar for 35 years) has said he will be buried in the emirate. His television appearances have been suspended since March. (ANSAmed).

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