Qatar blames Saudi-led boc for 'dissolution' of GCC

Qatar blames Saudi-led boc boycotting Doha for 'dissolution' of GCC
2 min read
09 November, 2017
Qatar's foreign minister has warned a boycott of Doha by a Saudi-led bloc of Arab states could lead to the breakup of the GCC.
Bahrain has called for Qatar's membership of the GCC to be suspended [TNA]

Qatar's foreign minister has warned a boycott of Doha by a Saudi-led bloc of Arab states could lead to the breakup of the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC].

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani made the remarks on Wednesday at a press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Qatar state media reported.

"The siege countries continue their unfair and illegal actions affecting the system of the GCC," Sheikh Mohammed said.

"The state of Qatar holds them responsible for the dissolution of the GCC as a collective security system," he added.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on June 5 severed ties with Qatar over accusations of supporting extremism and being too close to rival Iran, charges Doha has denied.

Last month, Bahrain called for Qatar's membership of the GCC to be suspended until it accepts the demands of its neighbours and said Manama would not attend GCC meetings alongside Doha.

Bahrain has since decided to impose visas on travellers from Qatar.

Under GCC agreements, citizens of countries in the six-state bloc, including both Bahrain and Qatar, can visit other GCC countries without visas.

Founded in 1981, the GCC is a political and economic union that includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as Oman and Kuwait.

GCC members are scheduled to meet before the end of the year, but the Gulf crisis could see the bloc's annual meeting postponed or cancelled.

Experts have warned that the nearly five-month-long diplomatic crisis could lead to the GCC's demise.

Saudi Arabia and its allies in June issued Qatar with a list of demands, including shutting down Al Jazeera as well as the London-based The New Arab, curbing relations with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in the emirate.

After severing ties with Doha, Riyadh and its allies closed land and maritime borders, suspended air links and expelled Qatari citizens.