GCC may restore ties with Qatar if Doha complies with demands: Saudi UN ambassador

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Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are open to restoring diplomatic relations with Qatar, but only when Doha agrees to meet the demands of the Arab Quartet, the Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah al-Mouallimi told the BBC on Saturday.

The Arab Quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt broke off relations with Qatar in 2017, accusing Doha of building relations with the Iranian regime, supporting terrorist organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood, and interfering in the internal affairs of other GCC states.

Despite the boycott, Doha has refused to halt its activities and relations have not been restored.

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“If Qatar responds to their demands, then it is with great openness, the Arab Quartet will embrace Qatar and its people, who want to return to their normal place among the peoples of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),” said al-Mouallimi on Saturday.

The dispute with Qatar could continue for years if Doha does not make the necessary changes, he added.

“Saudi Arabia and its sister countries often express their opinion that there is a room for understanding with the Qatari brothers if they implement these demands on the ground,” according to al-Mouallimi.

Qatar’s failure to follow through with the Quartet’s demands is based on Doha thinking it could build strong ties with external alliances rather than with countries within the GCC, he added.

Qatar has attempted to build relations with Iran and Turkey, despite both countries facing criticism for their foreign policy interventions across the region.

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