Saudi Arabia rejects Qatar proposed EU-style security pact

Saudi Arabia rejects Qatar proposed EU-style security pact
Riyadh's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has rejected a proposal from Doha to create a European Union style security-block.
2 min read
20 February, 2018
Saudi Arabia is leading a blockade against Qatar [AFP]
Saudi Arabia is refusing a Doha proposed European Union style security-block, Riyadh’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Monday.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani last week said Middle Eastern states should put their differences aside and forge a security pact which entails a similar model to the EU to pull the region back from the brink.

He asked the international community to continue lobbying the countries concerned to achieve the security bloc, but refused to elaborate much further.

“We already have a structure in place,” said al-Jubeir in Vienna on the sidelines of a meeting with Australia’s Foreign Minister, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) political and trading bloc, which has been in place for decades.

On Sunday, France's special envoy mediating efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis said that the tensions between Qatar and the countries besieging it are simmering down.

Bertrand Besancenot told Qatari daily al-Sharq that the more than seven-month dispute was harmful for the whole region and hailed efforts by Qatar and ally Kuwait to end the spat.

"We sense there is calm and a strong desire to end the siege… there are positive signs such as Kuwaiti, [French] and US desire to lift the siege and end the crisis," Besancenot said.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt broke off ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting extremists and being too close to Iran, Riyadh's arch-rival.

After cutting off all ties with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed a land, sea and air blockade of the emirate and issued a list of 13 demands to have it lifted.

The list of demands included shutting down media outlets Al Jazeera and London-based The New Arab, curbing relations with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Qatar denies the allegations and accuses the bloc of aiming to incite regime change.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the Saudi-led block to lift the embargo on Qatar and backed diplomatic efforts led by Kuwait.

In December, Macron visited Qatar and struck a deal to sell 12 French-built Rafale fighter jets to the gas-rich emirate.

The two countries also signed a $3.5 billion deal on the operation and maintenance of the Doha Metro, currently being built as the country prepares for the football World Cup in 2022.