Qatar slams Saudi Arabia's 'ironic' call for Gulf unity
Qatar has slammed Saudi Arabia for "regrettable" and "ironic" comments made by top Saudi diplomat Adel al-Jubeir, who earlier called for the blockaded Gulf nation "return to the fold".
The comments came as Saudi Arabia proposed an emergency meeting between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members and Arab League leaders to address the Gulf security situation as tensions with Iran rise.
Mysterious sabotage attacks on four tankers off the coast of the UAE and a series of drone attacks, claimed by Yemeni Houthi rebels, on Saudi oil installation last week have prompted renewed fears of conflict between Iran and the United States, as well as its Gulf allies.
Saudi Arabia has blamed Iran for both attacks.
Minister of state for foreign affairs Jubeir's call for a "unified Arab and Gulf stance", incorporating Qatar, amid escalating tensions was "ironic", said Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lulwa Al Khater on Monday.
Khater questioned how Jubeir could call on Qatar to "return to the fold" of the GCC while also "attacking" the country in the same statement, according to Qatari state news agency QNA.
Jubeir on Saturday urged Qatar to cease "supporting extremists and terrorists", the key allegation that has fuelled a two-year blockade on the isolated Gulf nation.
Citing Qatar's alleged support for "terrorist organisations", the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with and imposed a punishing land, sea and air blockade on the country.
Gulf states also ordered Qataris to leave within 14 days as well as calling home their own citizens, with the UAE announcing draconian jail terms of 15 years for anyone who expressed sympathy with Qatar.
Jubeir had either "forgot or pretended to forget" that it was the blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies that had produced a "rift in joint Arab and Gulf action", Khater claimed.
She added that Jubeir's statements had been made for "media consumption" rather than being serious statements of policy worthy of a reply.
Qatar was not invited to the emergency summit in Mecca, set to be held at the end of the month, a foreign ministry official said on Monday according to Reuters.
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