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Measures Against Qatar-Backed Terrorist Cells | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Buildings are seen on a coast line in Doha, Qatar June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

Riyadh, Dubai, Cairo- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain took on Thursday strong measures against terrorist organizations and individuals supported by Qatar.

In a statement, the four countries said 59 individuals and 12 entities linked to Qatar have been added to their updated respective lists of designated terrorist organizations and individuals.

They said they took those measures “in their ongoing commitment to combating terrorism, drying up the sources of its funding, countering extremist ideology and the tools of its dissemination and promotion, and to working together to defeat terrorism and protect all societies from its impact.”

The list of individuals includes several Arab and Gulf figures, mainly Egyptian Youssef Abdullah Al-Qaradawi, Libyan Abdulhakim Belhadj, Kuwaiti Hajjaj bin Fahad Hajjaj Mohammed Al-Ajmi, Qatari Abdullah bin Khalid Al Thani, in addition to entities including the Qatar Volunteer Center, the Doha Apple Company and the Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services.

The list was issued after Doha chose to escalate facing Arab states that decided last Monday to cut ties with Qatar over its rapprochement to Iran and after accusing it of supporting extremism.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told reporters in Doha that his country “was not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender” the independence of its foreign policy.

He said Qatar had not yet been presented with a list of demands by countries that cut off diplomatic ties, but instead said the matter must be solved peacefully.

The Qatari minister also hinted to the Iranian offer received by his country to confront any food shortage.

He said Tehran informed Qatar that it was ready to help with securing food supplies. However, al-Thani said that Doha did not yet accept the offer.

In Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held talks with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa.

During the meeting, the two men discussed issues of common interest in addition to the latest regional developments.

“The decision to sever diplomatic ties came after the failure of all attempts to make Doha stop aiding and abetting terrorist organizations,” King Hamad said.

For its part, Egypt called on the UN Security Council to launch an investigation into accusations that Qatar paid a ransom of up to $1 billion “to a terrorist group active in Iraq” to release kidnapped members of its royal family.

Also on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was ready to support any diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis with Qatar.

“The Secretary-General is following the situation in the Middle East with deep concern,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s efforts to convince the international community to support Doha in the current crisis received a big blow when Moscow announced that President Vladimir Putin does not wish to receive the Qatari foreign minister, who planned a trip to Moscow on Thursday.

Also, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash posted on his official Twitter page that “the demand for political protection from two non-Arab states and military protection from one of them looks like a new tragic and comic chapter.”

He said Qatar’s behavior was “strange” as it “demands to respect country’s sovereignty but looks for help abroad.”

Meanwhile, Chad said it recalled its ambassador from Qatar for consultations, joining other African states in showing support for the decision of Saudi Arabia and Gulf states to cut ties with Doha.