Rabat - Fresh from talks in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the UK’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, arrived in Doha Saturday for a meeting with Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to discuss the current crisis.
Rabat – Fresh from talks in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the UK’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, arrived in Doha Saturday for a meeting with Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to discuss the current crisis.
Traveling to the Qatari capital, Johnson was met late in the day by Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, before meeting with the Emir at Al Bahr palace.
Hoping to assist in the mediation process, the topic of discussions also included strategies for enhancing Qatar’s fight against terror and the cooperative counter-terrorism relationship shared between the two nations.
Earlier in the day, Johnson was in Kuwait to offer the UK’s support to the mediator. The visit was a follow up to earlier meetings he held on Friday in Saudi Arabia. There, he talked with bloc members, Saudi and United Arab Emirate (UAE), as he attempted to ease ratcheting tensions.
“The UK strongly supports Kuwait’s mediation efforts and the foreign secretary will pay tribute to the work of the Emir of Kuwait,” he said in a statement.
Of his diplomatic efforts, the UK’s foreign office stated that “The Foreign Secretary will urge all parties to get behind Kuwait’s mediation efforts, which the UK strongly supports, and work towards de-escalation and Gulf unity for the sake of regional stability.”
The statement also promised Johnson would discuss security and bilateral issues with a “particular focus on working together to address the common threats of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism.”
Mediation efforts recently hit a major snag when Qatar presented its official refusal to comply with the bloc’s list of demands to Kuwait last Wednesday, maintaining its stance that the demands are deliberately unworkable.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt presented their list of thirteen non-negotiable demands June 22, giving Qatar just ten days to comply. They included the closure of state-funded network, Al Jazeera, the dismantling of a Turkish military base on Qatar soil, a cooling in relations with Iran and the immediate curtailment of any financial support offered to terror organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda and ISIS.
From the beginning of the crisis, Qatar has denied all allegations of wrong-doing, defending its anti-terror record and its place as a diplomatic hub in the region. Qatar has steadfastly maintained its stance that the demands were deliberately designed to be impossible to meet. That opinion has been shared by international observers and leaders, including ally to both sides in the dispute, the United States.
Prior to the demands being sent to Qatar, the US State Department issued a statement expressing that it was “mystified” by the delay. They publicly expressed doubt over the bloc’s official stance that they were isolating Qatar due to its alleged financial support of terrorist organizations, wondering if, instead, the blockade was inspired by pre-existing tensions over Qatar’s independent foreign policy, which have frequently been at odds with Saudi-led strategies for the region.
In light of Qatar’s rejection of their demands, the bloc has warned of further sanctions in the offing. No further details have been outlined but the bloc has promised that any further action will comply with international law.