Anwar Gargash: “the Gulf has changed and cannot go back to what it was”

“I do not think that the Qatar crisis, on its third anniversary, deserves comment,” said the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Saturday 06/06/2020
A file picture for UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash speaking during a press conference last January. (AFP)
A file picture for UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash speaking during a press conference last January. (AFP)

LONDON--As a bitter dispute pitting Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar enters its fourth year, the United Arab Emirates said the Gulf region has changed and could not return to how it was before.

An Arab quartet composed of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, cut diplomatic, economic and travel ties with Doha on June 5, 2017, accusing Qatar of lending support to radical Islamist groups and being too close to Iran.

Qatar denied the allegations but refused to meet any of the demands made by the Arab quartet, which included putting an end to Doha’s harbouring of Muslim Brotherhood figures and other Islamic extremists, closure of the Qatari financed Al Jazeera TV network and shutting the Turkish military bases in Qatar.

“I do not think that the Qatar crisis, on its third anniversary, deserves comment,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter.

“Paths have diverged and the Gulf has changed and cannot go back to what it was,” he said.

Despite speculations about possible breakthroughs at the end of last year, including a round of shuttle diplomacy that saw the Qatari foreign minister visit Saudi Arabia for talks, frozen relations show no sign of thawing.

“The causes of the crises are known, and the solution is also known and will come in time,” Gargash said, without elaborating.

Later in the day, Qatar said that the Arab Quartet had refused to engage with efforts it described as US-backed to resolve the crisis.

“There is an initiative and a positive atmosphere in cooperation with the United States — and so far there is no response from the other side,” Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-said.

The latest move, one of several since the start of the crisis, was being led by Kuwait, he added.

On several occasions, Doha talked of mediation initiatives but refused to alter any of its policies in order to reassure its neighbours about Qatar’s commitment to a common vision on matters of regional security.

The Qatari foreign minister said last November there  was “small progress” in resolving the dispute  but that  his country would “not make any concessions that will affect our sovereignty and interfere with our domestic or foreign policy.”

Furthermore, the hostile attitude of Qatari media regarding boycotting countries has added to the contentious atmosphere related to the dispute.