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UAE: We Will Say ‘Goodbye’ if Qatar Rejects our Alliance | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. WAM photo

Abu Dhabi- UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan has said that Qatar “needs to do more to improve confidence in what it signs and what it actually implements,” stressing that Doha signed two agreements with the GCC countries in 1993 and 1994 but did not abide by them.

The minister welcomed Qatar’s recent signing of an anti-terrorism agreement with the United States, but expressed concern that the nation might not follow through with it.

“Qatar must also double its efforts to change the impression of many countries over its harboring, supporting, and funding of terrorism, as well as for voicing extremist views, inciting violence and hatred,” he said. “Our countries wish to achieve this, but only if Qatar is committed to changing this path,” he added.

“We in the region have decided not to allow any kind of tolerance towards extremist groups, terrorist groups and hate groups,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed during a joint press conference he held with Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak in Bratislava on Wednesday.

“Our region has suffered enough, so when nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt have decided to (take action), we are optimistic,” he said, adding that, “If Qatar wants to be a member of this alliance then they are more than welcome but if Qatar wants to be on the other side, then as we say in Arabic, its time to say ‘goodbye’.”

“We believe that there are two ways of dealing with things, whether to try and ease tension or try to address a problem,” Sheikh Abdullah explained in response to a question about what his expectations from the meeting that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held with the foreign ministers of the four countries that cut ties with Qatar.

“We do not believe that an attempt to ease the tension will address the matter, but will lead to delaying the problem and worsening it in the future,” he said.

“At the same time, we realize that there have been mistakes in the past from all of us – even the United States committed these mistakes – even Europe committed these mistakes – when we decided one day to support the so-called Mujahideen in Afghanistan and then the matter was not resolved and Afghanistan suffered a civil war.”

“The same thing happened in Somalia and Iraq, and today we see it happening in Syria and Libya, and I think if we start to blame, and blame certain issues, it will not end.

“The difference between our countries and Qatar is this: our countries are working keenly to confront and deter terrorism and extremism. It is true that our systems may not be the best possible situation, but the development of our systems, laws and structures are possible. However, the Qatari state is funding extremism, terrorism and fueling hatred, which provides these terrorists with shelter. ”

“Of course we have to work better to counter extremism and terrorism and we need more allies and friends to face it,” he said. “It is not fair to see that some countries want to fight and face extremism and terrorism, while others do not. What we are asking today from Qatar is what we ask of ourselves. We will not ask Qatar to take any action or steps we do not ask of, or commit to, ourselves as nations.”

He added: “Let us try to work together as the issue of extremism and terrorism is a long process and needs a real effort from all countries, including Europe, which unfortunately also allowed an environment that led to the growth of extremism and terrorism by not putting in place the appropriate laws and regulations to confront them, including the growing Yemeni extremist voices.”

The Slovak Foreign Minister welcomed Sheikh Abdullah’s visit, stressing his country’s keenness to strengthen its cooperation and friendly relations with the UAE, praising the leading position the UAE holds in both the regional and international arenas.

The meeting between the two sides saw the inking of a Memorandum of Understanding on political consultations.