Kuwait’s emir has called for an end to the regional diplomatic dispute that has seen Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt impose a blockade on Qatar since June 2017.
In his first public address since being hospitalised in the United States last month, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah said on Tuesday that the ongoing dispute greatly weakened the unity of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.
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“It is imperative to draw your attention to the unrest storming around our region, which poses grave threats and repercussions not only on our stability and security, but our also future generations,” 90-year-old Sheikh Sabah said at the opening session of the parliament’s new term.
“It is no longer acceptable nor tolerable to have an ongoing dispute among our brotherly GCC states. It has weakened our capabilities and undermined our gains.”
In June 2017, the four countries imposed a sea, land and air blockade on Qatar, accusing it of supporting “terrorism”.
The four Arab states also issued a 13-point list of demands, insisting that Qatar shut down the Al Jazeera network, close a Turkish military base and scale down ties with Iran.
Doha rejected the demands and has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Kuwait, led by Sheikh Sabah, has been acting as a mediator. Shuttle diplomacy efforts by the US have also failed to end the dispute – now in its third year.
The Kuwaiti ruler called on the Gulf nations to “immediately rise above our differences, mend fences and restore our friendly relations”.
Sheikh Sabah returned to Kuwait on October 16 after medical treatment in the US.
State media said he suffered an unidentified health setback in August before travelling to the US to meet President Donald Trump. The meeting was cancelled after he was admitted to hospital.