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Saudi minister says Qatar must end support for Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood
June 6, 2017 / 5:34 PM / 3 months ago

Saudi minister says Qatar must end support for Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood

PARIS (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Tuesday Qatar must take several steps, including ending its support for the Palestinian group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, to restore ties with other Arab states.

Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Qatar knew exactly what to do to restore relations with Riyadh and its Arab allies.

“We want to see Qatar implement the promises it made a few years back with regard its support of extremist groups, regards its hostile media and interference in affairs of other countries,” Jubeir told reporters in Paris.

“Nobody wants to hurt Qatar. It has to choose whether it must move in one direction or another direction”.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain said on Monday they would sever all ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

“We took this step with great pain so that it understands that these policies are not sustainable and must change,” Jubeir said.

Jubeir added that Qatar was undermining the Palestinian Authority and Egypt in its support of Hamas and the Muslim brotherhood.

“We don’t think this is good. Qatar has to stop these policies so that it can contribute to stability in the Middle East,” he said.

Jubeir declined to say exactly what he wanted Qatar to do immediately, but said the measures taken by Arab states, including a sea, land and air blockade would have a considerable cost on the country.

“We believe that common sense and logic will convince Qatar to take the right steps. The decisions that were made were very strong and will have a fairly large cost on Qatar and we do not believe that Qataris want to sustain those costs,” he said.

The campaign to isolate Qatar is disrupting trade in commodities from crude oil to metals and food, and deepening fears of a possible shock to the global gas market, where the Gulf state is a major player.

Jubeir also dismissed Qatar’s recent rapprochement with Shi‘ite Iran - Sunni Saudi Arabia’s arch foe in the region - saying that countries that deal with Tehran “deal with it at their own peril”.

When asked whether there could be military measures should Doha not change course, Jubeir said: “I hope not.”

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Maya Nikolaeva and Angus MacSwan

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