The three-month old crisis between four Arab countries and Qatar has continued to escalate, as the latest conflict took place on Monday at a UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.
Speaking on behalf of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt during the session, the Emirati envoy to the UN, Obaid Al-Zaaby, accused the Qatari foreign minister of “distorting facts, reflecting the Qatari approach in misleading the international public opinion towards the political crisis [between Qatar and the four countries].”
Al-Zaaby read a joint statement issued by the four boycotting countries, which stated that the Qatari foreign minister ought to announce the end of his country’s support of terrorism. The statement dismissed Qatar’s seriousness in having a conflict-resolution dialogue.
Al-Zaaby asserted the necessity for Qatar to stop “its support for extremist ideologies and terror ideas, which spread the hatred rhetoric and incite violence,” accusing Doha of financing and hosting terrorists over 20 years.
The Emirati envoy said there was “no blockade imposed on Qatar” but that the boycotting states had sovereign rights to face Qatar’s “aggressive policies” and that the country’s ports continue to be opened in other countries.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani maintained that the boycotting states were violating international and human rights, adding that there were about 26,000 complaints filed by Qatari citizens claiming to have faced personal inconveniences. Accusing the four states of imposing a “blockade”, Al-Thani called on the international community to take measures against them.
He claimed he was surprised by Saudi Arabia’s reaction that followed a phone call between Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday.
After the first official call between Doha and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia announced suspending any dialogue with Qatari authorities, accusing the Qatari news agency of distorting the content of the phone call.
The Qatari news agency published a report about the phone call, saying it came after coordination with US President Donald Trump. It added that the Qatari emir agreed to bin Salman’s request to assign envoys to discuss the crisis. However, the Saudi side says the phone call was initiated by Qatar.
On Monday, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani asserted the Qatari narrative in a press conference following the session and said his country was ready for dialogue to end the Gulf crisis in light of the exchanged respect for states’ sovereignties, asserting condemnation of all forms of terrorism and his appreciation for Kuwaiti mediation throughout the crisis.
On 5 June, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya’s eastern-based government, in addition to the Maldives, cut their diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar. The six governments accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, supporting Iran, and disturbing security and stability in the region, accusations that Doha denies.
Meanwhile in Egypt, a strong campaign against Qatar continues to take place among politicians and in the media. A recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) stirred angry reactions in the country and accusations by government supporters of benefiting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood incitement against Egypt, an accusation that Egypt also directed to Qatar. On Monday, Alaa Abed, head of the parliament’s Human Rights’ Committee said Qatar and Turkey were behind HRW’s funding.