DOHA, Qatar, July 9, (Agencies): Qatar’s government said Sunday it is forming a committee to pursue compensation for damages stemming from its isolation by four Arab countries. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and severed air, land and sea links with natural gas-rich Qatar last month, accusing it of a list of grievances including supporting extremism.
Qatar has denied the allegations, and has characterized the bloc’s ultimatums as an affront to its sovereignty. Qatari Public Prosecutor Ali Al-Marri told reporters in the Qatari capital, Doha, that the committee will handle claims made by private companies, public institutions and individuals. He gave few details, but said the body would use both domestic and international mechanisms to seek compensation, and will hire overseas law firms to handle its claims. “You have people who have sustained damages, businessmen who have sustained damages, banks which have sustained damages. As a result of this blockade.” he said. “And those who compelled these damages to happen must pay compensation for them.” Members of the newly-formed committee include Qatar’s minister of justice and minister of foreign affairs.
The Gulf state of Kuwait has been trying, unsuccessfully so far, to mediate the dispute. On Friday, the anti-Qatar bloc accused Qatar of thwarting all efforts aimed at resolving the rift and said it intends to “continue its policy aimed at destabilizing security in the region.” Al-Marri insisted that the decision to pursue compensation for damages is not tied to current state of negotiations between Qatar and the four bloc countries.
“The difference between politics and law is that in law there is continuity, unlike politics, which could be stopped by certain conditions,” he said
Qatar, UK discuss crisis
Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani held talks in Doha Saturday with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the Gulf crisis and its impacts on regional and international stability. Sheikh Tamim and Johnson also discussed regional and international efforts to combat terrorist and extremism, Qatari news agency reported. Johnson reiterated Britain’s support to His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah’s mediation to address the Gulf crisis.
Sheikh Tamim and Johnson also discussed bilateral cooperation with regards to the FIFA World Cup 2022, which would be held in Doha. The British Foreign Secretary also met with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammad Al-Thani and discussed the Gulf crisis. Johnson is on a tour in the region which already took him to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He is also due to visit the UAE. Earlier in the day, the British top diplomat met with Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, who applauded Britain’s support of Kuwaiti efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis.
The Foreign Secretary expressed anxiety regarding the continuing crisis as he called on all sides involved to contain the stalemate and hastily resolve the matter through dialogue. Johnson, in a statement following his arrival in Saudi Arabia yesterday evening, said his visit to the Gulf aimed at reaffirming support for Kuwait’s mediation to address dispute between Qatar on one side, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on the other. He said Britain’s close and historic friendship with all of the Gulf states is becoming even more relevant and important in today’s volatile world. During his talks in the region, Johnson said he would “urge all parties to play a constructive role in order to restore the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council.”