Qatar questions timing of Riyadh agreement leak

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed says release of ‘classified’ documents were aimed at diminishing US, Kuwait mediation.

Tillerson Sheih Mohammed
In his joint press conference with Tillerson, Sheikh Mohammed said the blockading countries did not use GCC conflict resolution mechanisms to resolve their differences with Qatar [Reuters]

Qatar’s foreign minister has questioned the timing of the leak of a set of agreements made between Gulf countries between 2013 and 2014 and insisted that his country was abiding by the accords.

After CNN on Monday published a set of documents known as the “Riyadh agreements,” Qatari officials said the leak aimed to weaken mediation efforts in the region.

The documents were published just as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in the Gulf for shuttle diplomacy between Jeddah, Doha and Kuwait City.

“These are clear efforts to diminish … the mediation by Kuwait, and the efforts of the United States to mediate this crisis,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in a joint press conference with Tillerson in the Qatari capital on Tuesday.

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The documents aimed to mend post-Arab Spring tensions between Gulf countries and banned support for opposition groups in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, as well as in Egypt and Yemen.

Both sides of the Gulf rift accused each other of violating the Riyadh agreements.

“They did not use any of the conflict resolution mechanisms,” in the agreements, Qatar’s foreign minister said. “If there are any grievances, they should be discussed either according to the Riyadh agreement, or according to GCC charter.”

The Saudi-led group accused Qatar of violating the Riyadh accords, saying in a joint statement that the documents confirmed “beyond any doubt Qatar’s failure to meet its commitments and its full violation of its pledges”.

According to the leaked documents, the parties agreed to refrain from backing any “political groups that pose a threat to any member country of the [Gulf Cooperation] Council”, and called for the deportation of Muslim Brotherhood leaders who are non-GCC citizens.

The existence of the accords had been known, but the content and the documents were never made public.

The publication of the documents came about three weeks after the Saudi-led group issued a 13-point list of demands, which included the shutdown of Al Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran and severing all alleged ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups, including Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5.

Source: Al Jazeera