| 11 August, 2017

Arab Quartet insists on guarantees in Qatar crisis

The West Bay City skyline on September 18-2017 in Doha, Qatar, Middle-East.

The West Bay City skyline on September 18-2017 in Doha, Qatar, Middle-East.


Friday, Aug 11, 2017

Dubai: The four Arab countries involved in a diplomatic rift with Qatar remain committed to the demands and principles they had announced in June and July to resolve the crisis, unnamed sources told the Saudi daily Okaz.

“The Quartet calling for the fight against terrorism adhere to their positions towards Qatar and will not waive the legitimate demands and the six principles, first and foremost the commitment to the agreements signed by Doha in 2013 and 2014,” Gulf diplomatic sources were quoted as saying.

Reports on Thursday referred to a new framework that included a road map for settling the crisis between Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates on one side and Qatar on the other.

The reports coincided with the arrival in the Gulf of Tim Lenderking, deputy assistant secretary for Arabian Gulf Affairs in the Near East Bureau, and Retired General Anthony Charles Zinni in the region to “maintain a constant pressure on the ground”.

The US drive reportedly promotes a solution based on a road map proposed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as well as on the six broad principles.

The principles are built upon the themes of combating terrorism and extremism, denying financing and safe havens to terrorist groups, stopping incitement to hatred and violence and refraining from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.

“The US envoys are still in the region and any new ideas will be discussed with them while taking into consideration the demands, the broad principles and the end of Qatar’s support for extremists and funding of terrorism,” the sources told Okaz.

The US proposal reportedly included laying the grounds for direct negotiations based on an accord that resolved a previous dispute between the Gulf nations.

However, the Quartet states have repeatedly stressed that Qatar had previously made pledges and signed agreements, but failed to honour them, and insisted that any new commitments should have full guarantees to ensure they are not violated.

Meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has distanced itself from intervening in the crisis after Qatar filed a complaint that the Quartet’s land and air boycott violated international aviation rules, a charge adamantly denied by the group of nations.

The UAE applauded ICAO’s neutrality in the matter.

“We value ICAO’s reluctance to be dragged a into political issues,” Saif Mohammad Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), said.

While affirming that the UAE’s sovereign airspace was still closed to Qatar-registered planes, Al Suwaidi said emergency routes are being used to ensure the smooth flow of air traffic.

ICAO also said it appreciated the cooperation the Quartet has shown during the extraordinary session held on Thursday to reveal its stance.

By Habib Toumi Bureau Chief

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