Morocco offers to mediate Qatar-GCC crisis

Morocco, a close ally of the Gulf countries, says it will remain neutral and offers to facilitate dialogue.

Morocco''s King Mohammed VI
The King of Morocco has close relations with GCC countries [Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP]

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has offered to mediate a diplomatic row between Qatar and three Gulf Arab states that severed diplomatic relations with Doha and have since imposed a debilitating blockade on the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Morocco said in a statement on Sunday that the kingdom was ready to play a “constructive and neutral” role in this crisis.

“If the parties so wish, the Kingdom of Morocco is ready to offer its services to foster a frank and comprehensive dialogue on the basis of non-interference in internal affairs and the fight against religious extremism,” the statement read.

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“Because of the strong personal ties of sincere fraternity and mutual consideration between King Mohammed VI – and His brother Kings and Emirs of the Gulf countries, the Kingdom of Morocco has been careful not to pay into public statements and hasty statements which only reinforce discord and deepen differences,” the ministry said in the statement.

It added that the King had called on all parties “to be wise in order to reduce tension, to overcome this crisis and to finally settle the causes that led to this, in accordance with the spirit which has always prevailed within the GCC.”

“The Kingdom favours a constructive neutrality, which cannot confine it to passive observation of a disturbing escalation between brotherly countries.”

The dispute between Qatar and the Arab countries escalated after false remarks attributed to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani were published on Qatar’s state-run news agency by hackers.

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Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt severed relations with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting “extremists” and their regional rival Iran.

The Qatari government has dismissed the allegations as “baseless” and said that it has been leading the region in attacking what it called the roots of “terrorism”, including giving young people hope through jobs, educating hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and funding community programmes to challenge the agendas of armed groups.

“Our position on countering terrorism is stronger than many of the signatories of the joint statement – a fact that has been conveniently ignored by the authors,” the government said.

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies