Washington - Qatar's Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, met with several non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council on Friday in an effort to gain support over the blockade imposed on them by a group of Gulf countries.
Washington – Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, met with several non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council on Friday in an effort to gain support over the blockade imposed on them by a group of Gulf countries.
The meeting was attended by all 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council except for Egypt.
Speaking with Al Jazeera, Al Thani explained that he provided the members with “updates on the situation” and urged them to “call for a lifting of the blockade on Qatar.”
The minister added that he was “trying to encourage all parties to enter a serious dialogue to try to put an end to this [blockade].” Imposed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, the blockade began immediately following the announcement by the three countries that they were severing all diplomatic relations with Qatar, citing the country’s alleged financial support for terrorist organizations. Qatar has denied these allegations since the onset of the crisis and has completely defended both its track record in fighting terrorism and its location as a regional hub for diplomacy.
Meeting at the Qatari mission to the United Nations in New York City, Al Thani also urged members of the Security Council (Bolivia, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay) to speak out publicly against the ban and to encourage other countries to do the same.
On June 22, Qatar was presented with a list of 13 “non-negotiable” demands from the countries implementing the blockade and was given a deadline of ten days to comply with each one. Qatar reacted with an equal amount of bravado, saying it would not consider responding to the demands until the blockade produces irrefutable and transparent proof that their allegations have merit.
The long delay in tabling the list of demands left international observers, including the United States Sate Department, “mystified” and wondering if the real reason for the blockade had more to do with pre-existing regional tensions than any concern in combating terror. Most concluded it was more likely a case of the blockading countries being unhappy with Qatar’s independent foreign policy.
Qatar’s Letter Campaign
In a letter addressed to UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on June 5, which was obtained by Morocco, Qatar clearly stated its position regarding the blockade and the accusations leveled against the country by the Saudi-led alliance.
“The State of Qatar has been, and continues to be, an active member of the Gulf Cooperation Council and committed to its charter. It respects the sovereignty of the other states and does not interfere in their internal affairs. It carries out its duties in combating and eradicating terrorism and extremism. It is keen to respect international law, participates effectively in efforts to address common international challenges, and uses it resources to achieve peaceful solutions to international crises and conflicts.”
A subsequent letter, dated June 9, details the impact of the blockade on daily life in Qatar, as well as the virtually immediate effect on the nation’s business and educational sectors. The most concerning issue noted was the separation of families who were prevented from seeing each other when the blockading countries closed their airspace to Qatar.
The letter depicted “the grave and profound consequences these unjustifiable political decisions have had on the ordinary people of the affected countries.”
However, the letter did praise the mediation efforts of Kuwait and its measured restraint in not retaliating to the blockade in place. “Qatar deeply believes that any disputes should be resolved through an open and transparent dialogue.”
The letter concluded, urging the “attention of international community to ensure that international instruments and the sovereignty of the State of Qatar are respected.”
Qatar’s minister is scheduled to return to Doha soon, where, according to the Al Jazeera report, “his country will continue to press its case with a number of different organizations, like the [UN] International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization, and the Human Rights Council in Geneva.”