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The New Arab

Anti-Doha alliance threatens to kick Qatar out of GCC

The UAE made the comments during a speech at London's Chatham House [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 July, 2017

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Qatar could lose its position in the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Arab countries currently blockading Doha warned on Monday.

An anti-Qatar alliance threatened Doha's place in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Monday, suggesting it could lose its post if it "undermined regional security".

Anwar Gargash, the UAE state minister for foreign affairs, warned Qatar "cannot be part of a regional organisation dedicated to strengthening mutual security and furthering mutual interest and at the same time undermine that security".

"You cannot be both our friend and a friend of al-Qaeda," he said, repeating allegations - denied by Qatar - that the country funds extremists.

On 5 June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt cut all ties with Doha and began a blockade on the Gulf country.

The quartet closed Qatar's only land border, banned planes from their airspace, and barred Qatari nationals from passing through its airports.

The four Arab states accuse Qatar of ties to Iran and of funding Islamist extremist groups. Qatar has denied the accusations. 

Last month, the bloc issued a 13-point ultimatum to Qatar, which included demands to close a Turkish military base, shuttering Al Jazeera media network, and ending relations with Iran.

Qatar called the demands "unreasonable" and said it infringed on its "sovereignty". 

The Gulf crisis is the worst to hit the region since the establishment of the GCC in 1981.

"What we really do want is we either reach an agreement and Qatar's behaviour changes, or Qatar makes its own bed and they can move on and we can move with a new relationship. But we cannot have a member who is undermining us and supporting extremism," Gargash said during a speech at the Chatham House international affairs think tank in London.

Meanwhile, Qatar has pointed toward US intelligence officials who revealed the UAE's involvement of being behind an alleged cyber-attack on Doha's state media, which set into motion the current diplomatic crisis.

The alleged hack of the Qatar News Agency website on 24 May attributed explosive remarks to Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

The remarks covered sensitive political subjects such as Iran, Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, Israel and the United States.

They were quickly seized on by news organisations outside Qatar, but Doha said they were false.

 

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