The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain have threatened criminal sanctions against those who express sympathy with Qatar.
The European Union has called on Gulf countries to “de-escalate the tensions and to engage in direct dialogue” following the ongoing crisis between Qatar and other Arab states in the region.
Speaking after her arrival at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Monday, EU Foreign Affairs head Federica Mogherini said: “Any difficulty, any tension, can be and must be resolved at a table, discussing, in dialogue, finding common ways, and politically.”
“We invite all to de-escalate the tensions and to engage in direct dialogue,” Mogherini said. “No unilateral steps.”
Counting the cost of the Qatar-Gulf crisis
Mogherini said that the European Union has a “direct interest” in having the dispute resolved, considering that the Gulf countries are its partners in fighting “terrorism”, in resolving other regional conflicts, and in developing the region’s economy.
“The region is already fragile enough, dangerous enough, and we are starting to see dangerous spill-overs already both in the broader region but also in Africa and in Asia.
“There are worrying signals,” she said. “So we really invite all to find a way to solve any tension, any controversies, at a table, discussing through dialogue, politically, without exacerbating tensions.”
“It is always possible and even more so has to be possible among countries that belong to the Gulf Cooperation Countries.”
On June 5, five Arab countries — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen — cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting “terrorism”.
Qatar has denied the accusations, calling the moves to diplomatically isolate it “unjustified”.