Emirati minister says Qatar’s isolation could last ‘years’

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash attends an interview with Reuters in Abu Dhabi June 7, 2017. — Reuters pic
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash attends an interview with Reuters in Abu Dhabi June 7, 2017. — Reuters pic

PARIS, June 19 — Qatar’s diplomatic isolation could “last years”, a United Arab Emirates minister said today, accusing the Gulf state of “supporting jihadists”.

“We do not want to escalate, we want to isolate,” state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash told journalists during a visit to Paris.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain broke off relations with Qatar two weeks ago and have closed land and sea borders and imposed severe restrictions on airspace.

The minister said Qatar’s rivals were “betting on time”, but said a solution could not be brokered until it abandoned its support for “extremist Islamists”.

“They have built a sophisticated podium for jihadism and Islamic extremism, we have a golden opportunity to break this support,” the minister said.

He called for countries like the United States, France, Germany and Britain to help monitor any agreement reached with Qatar to ensure they are not cooperating with jihadists.

“They have the diplomatic clout and technical know-how,” the minister added.

The crisis has raised major concerns over instability in the region. — AFP

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