Landmark address over Gulf diplomatic rift delayed to allow Kuwait’s emir time for talks in Riyadh.
Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Monday night delayed a much-anticipated speech which was expected to address the diplomatic tensions that have roiled the Gulf region in recent days and weeks.
The emir had spoken to Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the leader of Kuwait, in the hours before the speech was expected in the wake of fast-breaking prayers.
Al-Thani was reportedly urged by the Kuwaiti ruler to exercise restraint and “not to take any measures that could escalate” the tensions in the region, according to Kuwait’s state-run KUNA news agency.
The Kuwaiti emir is understood to be heading to Riyadh for talks with Saudi leaders over resolving the dispute, which has seen diplomatic relations with Qatar broken off by several Arab nations, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, following a weeks-long media campaign of incitement against Doha.
Qatar’s leader is now expected to make his address on Tuesday evening, allowing talks to begin.
“Regarding the reasons for this escalation, honestly, we don’t know if there were real reasons for this crisis or whether it was based on things we’re unaware of,” Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Al Jazeera on Monday night.
“If there were real reasons, it would have been put on the table for discussion during the [Gulf Cooperation Council] meeting, but none of that was mentioned. It wasn’t mentioned either during the American Islamic Arab summit in Riyadh. There were no indications whatsoever.
Gulf media, spearheaded by Sky News Arabia – a 50-50 operation by Rupert Murdoch and the deputy prime minister of the UAE – has spent much of the past two weeks claiming that Doha’s independent foreign policy was a front for supporting Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, which several countries in the region deem to be a “terrorist organisation”.
“Qatar has not met this escalation with escalation,” the foreign minister added. “We’ve been trying to deal with this wisely. We haven’t responded to them on the same level.”