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Saudi FM: Qatar must stop supporting Hamas

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 June, 2017

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Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that Qatar must stop funding Hamas and other Muslim Brotherhood affiliates
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that Qatar must stop funding Hamas and other Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in order to restore ties with the most powerful GCC states.

Jubeir told reporters in Paris that the aim of cutting relations is not to "harm Qatar". 

"We want to see Qatar implement the promises it made a few years back with regard its support of extremist groups, regards its hostile media and interference in affairs of other countries," Jubeir added.

Allegations of Qatar supporting extremist groups have been flying for weeks, as it has been subject to a media offensive by Saudi and UAE media outlets for a number of weeks.

On Monday, a Sky News analyst had even claimed Qatar funded Nusra Front and Hizballah at the same time; two factions that are at war with each other in Syria. 

Qatar denies allegations of supporting extremist groups and affirms its role in fighting terrorism. Qatar has previously denied providing financial support to Hamas, insisting its support goes to Palestinian civilian institutions in Palestine, although Doha recognises the legitimacy of the group won the last general election in Palestine in 2006.

Hamas and Saudi Arabia have had a complicated relationship, but never before has Riyadh suggested the Palestinian group, whose supporters insist is a legitimate resistance fighting the occupation, was an extremist group. During a visit by Donald Trump to Riyadh in late May, the pro-Israel president denounced Hamas as a terror group, and Riyadh did not object.

Severing ties

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain all cut off diplomatic contact with Qatar on Monday morning, after officially accusing it of "sponsoring terrorism".

In what appears to be a coordinated move, foreign office officials alleged Qatar was responsible for supporting the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda "at all levels" in an unprecedented diplomatic spat for the Gulf region.

In a tweet sent out early on Monday morning, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "Protecting national security from threats of terrorism and extremism, Saudi Arabia has decided to sever diplomatic and consular relations with the State of Qatar."

Riyadh announced on state television that Qatar would no longer participate in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, claiming Doha had helped support its enemy, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

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