Qatar has said it is committed to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) but that the bloc needed to enforce its own rules, signalling that a reformed alliance could help end the Gulf crisis.
Foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Saturday that Qatar was still counting on Kuwait and regional powers to help end the crisis.
“We believe that we are more relevant as a bloc” for the West than as separate and fragmented countries, he told the annual Doha Forum, but said the GCC had “no teeth” and needed a dispute resolution mechanism.
“They have mechanisms in place and never trigger them (to hold people accountable) because some countries believe they are non-binding, so we need to make sure all the rules we are submitting to are binding to everyone in this region.”
The remarks come amid an ongoing blockade on Qatar imposed in June 2017, by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt.
The quartet has accused Qatar of supporting “terrorism”. Qatar has denied the charges and said the boycott aims to impinge on its sovereignty.
Call for dialogue
Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani called on the Saudi-led alliance boycotting the Gulf country to start a dialogue, in order to resolve the dispute.
“Our position has not changed on how to solve the Gulf crisis,” Tamim told the forum.
“This can be achieved by lifting the siege and resolving difference through dialogue and non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs.”
Kuwait, a traditional mediator in the region, has been attempting to resolve the diplomatic spat over the past year and a half, but to no avail.
The issue of the Gulf crisis had not taken precedence during a one-day GCC summit on Sunday, held in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
The GCC, a political and economic alliance of countries in the Arabian Peninsula, was established in 1981 to foster socioeconomic, security, and cultural cooperation.
Meanwhile, Romania’s Foreign Minister Teodor-Viorel Melescanu told the Doha Forum the European Union (EU) is currently working on organising a conference that help solve the ongoing Gulf crisis.
The southeastern European country is set to take over the rotating presidency role of the council of the EU for a period of six months, starting January 2019.