Bahrain said on Monday that Qatar’s Gulf Cooperation Council membership should be suspended until it accepts the demands of the boycotting Arab countries. ‘Bahrain will not attend a summit with Qatar, which is getting closer to Iran day after day,’ said Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa
“The correct step to preserve the [Gulf] Cooperation Council is to freeze Qatar’s membership until it sees reason and accepts the demands of our countries. If not, we are fine with it leaving the council,” said Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa on Twitter.
“Qatar’s refusal to accept our fair demands to stop its continuous conspiring against our country proves it does not respect the GCC and the charters and treaties it signed.”
The conflict erupted in June, but the tensions with Qatar have been there for years, and Doha pledged to change its behaviour when it signed documents with other GCC members in 2013 and 2014.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut all diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5 over accusations it was supporting extremists and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Doha has denied the allegations.
They have also said that Qatar is increasing relations with Iran, who has also been accused of interfering in other countries’ affairs in the region.
“If Qatar thinks its stalling and current evasion will buy it time until the upcoming GCC meeting, it is mistaken,” said Sheikh Khalid. “The situation remains the same, and it is a summit we won’t be attending.”
“Bahrain will not attend a summit with Qatar, which is getting closer to Iran day after day and bringing foreign forces [to its soil], dangerous steps for the security of the GCC countries.”
The GCC summit, scheduled to take place in Kuwait in December, will most likely be postponed.
Major Saudi newspaper Okaz has reported that the meeting will be pushed back another six months due to the ongoing dispute between Qatar and the Arab countries boycotting it.
The four Arab countries stand firm by their decision to boycott Qatar, saying they are willing to re-establish communication with Doha only if it adheres to regional and international agreements as well as the demands and principles issued by the quartet.
Doha has so far refused to meet the quartet’s 13 demands, which included the closure of Qatar-owned Al Jazeera news channel — which the quartet says provides a platform for extremists and dissidents — and the shutting down of a permanent Turkish military base in the country.
The Gulf Cooperation Council was founded in 1981 and includes Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.