Qatar measures taken with great pain – Saudi FM

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Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said that Qatar is a “brother state” and that punitive steps against it were a well-intentioned effort to stop its support for “extremism”.

Speaking in Germany, Adel al-Jubeir said on Wednesday that it was “with great pain” that the measures against Qatar were taken.

“We see Qatar as a brother state, as a partner,” he told a joint press conference with German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel.

“But you have to be able to tell your friend or your brother when they are doing the right thing and when they are doing the wrong thing.”

The Saudi top diplomat said the crisis with Qatar went back years, adding that the Gulf nation had not lived up to commitments it made earlier to end support for extremist organisations and halt “interference” in affairs of countries in the region.

Jubeir said that “we have taken these steps in the interest of Qatar… and in the interest of security and stability in the region”.

“And we hope that our brother Qatar will now take the right steps in order to end this crisis.”

Jubeir also said efforts would be made to resolve the conflict within the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain are among seven states that have cut diplomatic ties and many major transport links with Qatar.

The Arab states accuse Qatar of supporting extremism, a charge Doha firmly denies.

The Saudi diplomat’s comment comes a day after he said Doha must end its support for the Palestinian group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood before ties with other Arab Gulf states could be restored.

Speaking in the French capital, Paris Jubeir accused Qatar of undermining the Palestinian Authority and Egypt in its support of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood a charge Doha denies.

Meanwhile the German foreign minister said Berlin was “worried about the possible consequences and a growing escalation” after the “very tough” measures taken against Qatar.

Berlin’s main concern was to “de-escalate the conflict” and rebuild Gulf regional cooperation, saying that “we need this cooperation in the anti-Islamic State coalition”.

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