Qatar signed secret agreements with GCC peers

11 July 2017

Arab states accuse Qatar of breaching 2013/14 agreements

Qatar had made a series of secret agreements in 2013 and 2014 with its GCC neighbours, which Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and their North African ally Egypt say were breached, trigging the worst political crisis in the region that accounts for about a third of world’s proven oil reserves.

The agreements signed by the heads of Arab states barred support for opposition and hostile groups in GCC, as well as in Egypt and Yemen, according to a report by US-based news channel CNN.

The first agreement signed in November 2013 by the king of Saudi Arabia and emirs of Qatar and Kuwait, laid out commitments to avoid interference in the internal affairs of other Gulf nations, including barring financial or political support to “deviant” groups, which is used to describe anti-government activist groups.

The agreement, referred to as the Riyadh Agreement, also specifically mentions not supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Gulf allies allege Qatar supports, as well as not backing opposition groups in Yemen that could threaten neighbouring countries.

The second agreement signed in November 2014, which also adds the king of Bahrain, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi as signatories, specifically mentions commitments to support Egypt’s stability, including preventing Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera TV from being used as a platform for groups or figures challenging the Egyptian government.

The bloc of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have said their actions against Qatar follows its failure to commitments and violation of pledges made through the two agreements.

“The four states emphasise that the 13 demands submitted to the Qatari government were to fulfill their previous pledges and commitments and that the demands were originally stated in the ‘Riyadh Agreement’, its mechanism and the Supplementary Agreement and are fully in line with the spirit of what was agreed upon,” The Arab states said in a joint statement carried by Saudi news agency SPA.

The Saudi-led states on 5 June severed diplomatic and transportation ties with Qatar, accusing the gas-rich nation of funding terrorism and meddling in their internal affairs, the allegations that Qatar has denied. It has also rejected the list of demands, which included shutting down Al-Jazeera and closing the Turkish military base in the country.

A Qatari spokesman has accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of breaking the “spirit of the agreement”.

“A full reading of that text will show that the intent of the 2013/14 agreements was to ensure that sovereign GCC nations be able cooperate within a clear framework,” Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed al-Thani, the director of Qatar’s government communication office, said in a statement to CNN.

“Their demands – that Qatar close down Al-Jazeera, force the breakup of families, and pay ‘compensation’ – are demands that bear no relation to the Riyadh agreements,” he said, adding that at no point did Saudi Arabia or the UAE used the mechanisms in the Riyadh Agreement to communicate their concerns to Qatar and the current list of demands was “unwarranted and unprecedented” attack on Qatar’s sovereignty.

A MEED Subscription...

Subscribe or upgrade your current package to support your strategic planning with the MENA region’s best source of business information. Proceed to our online shop below to find out more about the features in each package.

Get Notifications