BEIRUT

Middle East

Gulf ministers meet over Qatar dispute

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal (R) speaks during a joint news conference with Algeria's Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra in Riyadh April 15, 2014. (REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser)

DUBAI: Gulf foreign ministers met Thursday at an extraordinary meeting in Riyadh in a bid to defuse tensions between Qatar and three other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, an official said.

Heavyweight Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar last month, accusing it of meddling in their internal affairs and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Gulf official said that the impromptu meeting aimed to settle differences, but pointed out that there was no clear idea as yet about how the foreign ministers will go about doing it.

The GCC also includes Kuwait and Oman, and the move against Qatar was an unprecedented measure among the six-nation group.

Al-Hayat daily cited Thursday Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi as saying that the crisis has been “ended” and that the dispute including belongs to “the past.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters Tuesday that GCC countries “are free in their policies, provided they do not harm interests of other members” of the regional grouping.

“As long as these countries adhere to this principle, there will be no problems among GCC states.”

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies are hostile to the Brotherhood, fearing its brand of grassroots activism could undermine their authority.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 18, 2014, on page 9.

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