Qatar’s defence minister says future of GCC in doubt

Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah says if Gulf crisis stalemate continues, GCC will be ‘jeopardised’.

Qatar’s defence minister has said that the future of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could be in doubt if a Saudi-led group continues its partial blockade on Qatar

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah said an ongoing political stalemate is not helping anyone involved in the crisis.

“The more we wait, the longer [the crisis] is prolonged, I think it will aggravate the relations more and more,” he said.

Khalid bin Mohamed also said that if Gulf countries “stay in the stalemate situation, [the GCC] will be jeopardised”, adding that he believes “the wisdom of [Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah] will not let it go this far”.

Sheikh Sabah has been trying to mediate a resolution in a major fallout in the region, since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic, commercial and transport links with Qatar on June 5.

The four countries accuse Doha of supporting “terrorism”, an allegation Qatar has repeatedly rejected as “baseless”. 

Qatar calls for dialogue

Khalid bin Mohamed also said he believed there were some signs of movement to resolve the crisis.

“Qatar, since day one, was calling for dialogue and I think today this language is prevailing in the GCC,” he said.

“We all support his highness Sheikh Sabah of Kuwait and we trust his wisdom. I think this is the direction we are seeing this go now.” 

Khalid bin Mohamed’s statements came two days after the foreign ministers of the Saudi-led group met in the Bahraini capital of Manama.

READ MORE: Qatar-Gulf crisis – All the latest updates

At the meeting on Sunday, the four countries said they would enter dialogue only if Doha agrees to certain demands and “fights terror”. 

“The four countries are ready for dialogue with Qatar with the condition that it announces its sincere willingness to stop funding terrorism and extremism and its commitment to not interfere in other countries’ foreign affairs and respond to the 13 demands,” Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said after the meeting with his counterparts. 

On June 22, the Saudi-led group issued a 13-point list of demands, which included the shutdown of Al Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country, as a prerequisite to lift the sanctions.

Qatar has vehemently rejected the demands, and said the sanctions imposed by the four countries were violating international laws.