Qatari royals in exile call for national meeting to end crisis

September 24, 2017
Renewed hope. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (L) and Qatari Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassem al-Thani at the king’s vacation home in Tangier. (Saudi Press Agency)

London- Opposition towards Qa­tari government poli­cies from within its royal family appears to be widening, with a sec­ond member of the al-Thani tribe calling for Doha to sever ties with terrorist organisations and resolve its disputes with neighbouring countries.
Paris-based Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim al-Thani appeared in a recorded segment on Sky News Arabia, endorsing calls by his un­cle Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassem al-Thani for a national meeting to resolve the dispute with a Saudi-led quartet of countries.
“Our brothers in the Gulf and the Arab world have ostracised us be­cause of fatal errors that were com­mitted against them alongside ugly practices done against their exist­ence,” Sheikh Sultan said, adding that Doha had become an incuba­tor of those who corrupt and a plat­form to serve their agendas.
He said his “worst fear is that one day the Qatari citizen will be­come associated with terrorism. I am most fearful that we would be rejected from everyone worldwide, along with the rupture with our neighbouring countries.”
“I endorse all calls for a meeting hoping that all the members of the ruling family, distinguished mem­bers and thinkers to engage in this meeting so they can become one hand to protect Qatar from enemies and deserters,” Sheikh Sultan said.
Sheikh Abdullah called on the people of Qatar to unite to “be mes­sengers of peace” to resolve the Gulf crisis.
“To my family, the dignitaries, the businessmen and all the peo­ple of Qatar, I invite you to meet to be messengers of wisdom and peace and advocates for uniting the hearts,” he wrote on his official Twitter account.
The Riyadh-based member of the Qatari royal family said the crisis was “getting worse, as it has reached a point of direct incite­ment against the stability of the Gulf and interference in others’ af­fairs, thus pushing us to a fate that we do not want to reach.”
“Our duty is not to remain silent in this crisis,” Sheikh Abdullah said before calling for a “national and family meeting to examine the cri­sis and return things to normal.”
He gave out his personal e-mail address and urged members of the royal family and the public in Qatar to contact him with inquiries and set a date for the meeting.
The developments come less than a week after a Qatari opposi­tion meeting in London. The idea of exiled Qatari businessman and activist Khalid al-Hail, the confer­ence involved members of Qatar’s opposition in exile gathered to highlight their grievances against the government in Doha.
“Uniting the Qatari opposition, as envisioned at the conference is a significant step in the right direc­tion,” wrote Saudi writer Abdullah al-Otaibi in Al-Ittihad, an Emirati daily.
“The opposition can then focus on reaching out to international Western decision-makers, think-tanks and media outlets to provide a permanent platform for answer­ing questions and providing in­formation and analyses of Qatar’s political, economic and military decisions against the Qatari state or its people,” Otaibi wrote.
The coast guard of Bahrain, one of the countries that cut diplo­matic ties with Doha over what was described as Qatar’s interfer­ence in their countries’ internal affairs and support for radical groups, announced that Qatar has seized three Bahraini boats with 16 sailors onboard during a three-day period.
“This raises the number of boats seized by Qatar to 15 and the num­ber of sailors in its custody to 20,” Bahraini Coast Guard Commander Alaa Siyadi said. He urged Doha to show commitment to proper legal procedures in accordance with in­ternational conventions on mari­time safety.
In June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt joined Bahrain in severing diplomatic ties with Doha. International media­tion efforts have yet to yield tangi­ble results.