World, Middle East, Europe

Gulf crisis: Germany calls for de-escalation

FM Gabriel meets Saudi counterpart in Berlin, urges dialogue between Gulf states and Qatar

Gulf crisis: Germany calls for de-escalation BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 07: German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (R) speaks during a joint press conference with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir (L) following their meeting in Berlin, Germany on June 07, 2017. ( Cüneyt Karadağ - Anadolu Agency )

By Ayhan Simsek


 Germany’s foreign minister on Wednesday called for de-escalation of tensions between Gulf states and Qatar, warning that deepening of the crisis could harm the fight against Daesh.

Speaking at a press conference with his Saudi Arabian counterpart Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir in Berlin, Sigmar Gabriel expressed "grave concern" over the recent tensions.

"Germany and Europe have a very strong interest in preventing further escalation of tensions in the Gulf region. One must seek ways to reach again a better understanding among the Gulf states," he said.

Gabriel underlined that the region was already facing many crises and challenges, and urged conflict parties to refrain from steps which could harm the global coalition to defeat Daesh.

Germany’s top diplomat voiced support for international mediation efforts to resolve the crisis between Gulf States and Qatar, and said Berlin was ready to do its best whenever its help would be needed.

Riyadh remains tough

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir said he informed his German counterpart about the recent measures undertaken by Saudi Arabia and four other Arab countries against Qatar, which they accused of supporting extremist or terrorist groups.

Asked about possible mediation by Germany, al-Jubeir underlined that it was not the purpose of his visit.

"We have not asked for any mediation initiative. But of course the Gulf Cooperation Council will deal with the mediation efforts," he said.

The Saudi foreign minister renewed Riyadh's demands from Qatar, which he accused of interfering with the internal affairs other countries in the region, and supporting terrorism.

On Monday, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen cut ties with Qatar, citing national security concerns.

Qatar denied the accusations, saying the move to cut ties with it was "unjustified" and aimed to impose guardianship on the Gulf state.

The new escalation came two weeks after the website of Qatar’s official news agency was allegedly hacked by unknown individuals who reportedly published statements falsely attributed to its emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani.

The incident triggered a diplomatic row between Qatar and its neighbors, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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