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Iran Press TV

Bahrain FM calls for freeze on Qatar's GCC membership

Iran Press TV

Mon Oct 30, 2017 05:18PM

Bahrain has called for Qatar's membership of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council to be suspended until it accepts the demands of its neighbors as a diplomatic standoff continues between Doha and a Saudi-led group of nations.

Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah said on Twitter on Monday that Manama would not attend GCC meetings alongside Doha. "The correct step to preserve the GCC would be to freeze Qatar's membership until it sees reason and accepts the demands of our countries. If not, we will be fine with it leaving the GCC."

Later on Monday, Bahraini King Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifah also announced during a cabinet meeting that his country would not take part in any future GCC meeting if Qatar was to attend.

"Qatar has proved today that it does not respect charters, treaties and bonds upon which the GCC was founded," the king said, cited by Bahrain's official BNA news agency.

The king also accused Qatar of undermining the security of other GCC member states.

"So long as Qatar continues on this path, Bahrain will not attend any [Persian] Gulf summit or meeting in the presence of Qatar unless it rectifies its policy and accepts the demands" of the Saudi-led bloc, he said.

The remarks come as 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.

Back in June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.

The Saudi-led quartet presented Qatar with a list of demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences. The demands included closing the Al Jazeera broadcaster, removing Turkish troops from Qatar's soil, scaling back cooperation with Iran, and ending ties with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and denounced them as unreasonable.

In an interview aired on Sunday, Qatar's emir accused Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies of seeking to topple his government. He also warned that any military action against the Persian Gulf country would plunge the region into chaos.

"They want a regime change. It's ... so obvious," Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani told CBS's 60 Minutes. "History as well tells us, teaches us. They tried to do that before, in 1996 after my father became the emir. So, and they made it also so obvious in the last couple of weeks."

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



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