The Middle East Monitor has reported that three Wall Street Journal reporters who said that Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar bin Sultan had described Qatar as “nothing but 300 people … and a TV channel” are standing by their claim.
The quotes in the WSJ article last week were attributed to “a person familiar with the exchange” and journalists Adam Entous, Nour Malas and Margaret Coker told the London-based publication on Wednesday that the sources behind the account were knowledgeable and reliable.
Bandar, the director-general of the Saudi intelligence agency, was said to have made the remarks during one of his recent overseas missions and to have ended the quote by adding “that doesn’t make a country”.
The Saudi News Agency reported two days after the WSJ piece that a Saudi official had denied Bandar’s comments.
Tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia have recently heightened over their respective policies towards Syria.
Both countries have made clear they wish to bring down President Bashar al-Assad’s regime but disagree on what should replace it.
In contrast to Saudi Arabia, Qatar has not opposed the creation of Islamist governments in the region.
The report on Bandar’s remarks saw angry Qataris take to Twitter, describing the comments as “insulting”.
Responding on the micro-blogging site, Khaled Al Attiyah, Qatar’s foreign minister, said every Qatari was worth a country.