Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#Saudi Arabia #King calls on #Egypt to back #Gulf settlement with #Qatar

Gulf leaders on Wednesday decided to return ambassadors to Doha - and Saudi Arabia wants Egypt's support in the diplomatic efforts

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud

Saudi Arabia has called on Egypt to back a recent agreement forged between the leaders of three Gulf States to end a months-long regional rift over Qatar's support to Islamist groups in the region.

In March, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their envoys from Doha, accusing it of supporting organisations that undermine the Gulf's stability and interfering in other states' affairs.

But in a summit held in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Sunday to discuss the fall out, the three Gulf states – all members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – agreed to send back their ambassadors, ending a dispute between the Arab Gulf allies.

Saudi King Abdullah on Wednesday said the agreement was meant to end differences and to turn over a new leaf in joint cooperation between Arab and Islamic states.

The king called on Cairo to back the accord, emphasising that members of the Gulf organisation – which also includes Oman and Kuwait – stand by Egypt, a key player in the Middle East.

"I appeal to the people and leaders of Egypt to work along with us towards the success of this step in the march of Arab solidarity," the king was quoted as saying in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

The king also said the Gulf states look forward to "a new era of consensus and harmony among the brotherly countries."

Ties between Egypt and Qatar have been strained since last year's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim brotherhood. Cairo is incensed by Doha's perceived backing of the group, deemed a terrorist group by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Qatar has given refuge to some exiled Brotherhood members and its Doha-based Al Jazeera news channel is seen by Cairo authorities as being biased towards Islamists.

Egypt recalled its envoy to Qatar earlier this year amid tensions between the two Arab states.