UAE's Gargash says Qatar isolation could last for years


Reuters

UPDATE 1-UAE's Gargash says Qatar isolation could last for years


(Writes through, adds details, quotes)
    By John IrishPARIS, June 19 (Reuters) - A senior United Arab Emirates
(UAE) official said on Monday Qatar's powerful Arab neighbours
could continue to isolate it "for years" if it did not alter its
foreign policy and said a list of their grievances would be
completed in the next days.
    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt
cut diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar on June 5 in
the worst diplomatic crisis in the region in years.
    The four countries accuse Qatar of fomenting instability in
the Middle East, funding terrorism and cosying up to Shi'te
power Iran, accusations that Qatar denies.
    Kuwait is attempting to mediate, although scant progress has
been made so far.
    "The Kuwaiti mediation will be very useful and there will be
demands coming," Anwar Gargash UAE Minister of State for Foreign
Affairs told a small group of reporters in Paris. "Qatar will
realise that this is a new state of affairs and isolation can
last years.
    "If they want to be isolated because of their perverted view
of what their political role is, then let them be isolated. They
are still in a phase of denial and anger."
    Gargash said the priority concern was in dealing with Doha's
links to al Qaeda-linked and other Islamist groups across the
region as well as its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and the
Palestinian Hamas group.

    EARLY DAYS
    He said a list of grievances Arab nations had with Qatar
would be completed in the next few days.
     Qatar earlier on Monday dismissed the accusations against
it as a "publicity stunt" aimed solely at sulllying its image
and reputation.
    "We don't really see an escalation, but isolation. You are
part of our team, but you keep scoring an own goal," Gargash
said, citing Qatar's support of militant groups in Libya, Yemen
and Syria.
    Gargash said there was a risk Iran and Turkey would try to
fill the vacuum caused by the rift, but urged Ankara, which has
supported Doha, to be neutral.
    "It's early days. Turkey is trying to balance between its
ideological zeal and its national interests. We are still in the
phase and let's hope they are wise and understand that it's in
its best interest...what we are doing," he said.
    Gargash, who was in Paris as part of efforts to lobby
European allies to put pressure on Doha, said he believed that
when Qatar did back down, there would be a need to monitor its
activities in the region, something Western powers could
undertake.
    "There is no trust. So far it's an idea to create a
monitoring system...France, Britain, U.S. or Germany could
monitor because they have the diplomatic clout and technical
know-how," Gargash said.

 (Reporting by John Irish; editing by Richard Lough and Ralph
Boulton)
 ((john.irish@thomsonreuters.com; 0033-1 49 49 53 42;))

Keywords: GULF QATAR/EMIRATES (UPDATE 1)



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