Photographer: Gabriela Maj/Bloomberg

GCC Chief Condemns Qatari ‘Media Offensive’ in Rare Comments

  • Statement comes as Bahrain toughens its position on Qatar
  • Says it’s not the GCC head’s responsibility to resolve crises

The Bahraini chief of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in rare public comments on the feud entangling the bloc, condemned what he called a Qatari media offensive against him and his office.

“Qatari officials and media know well that resolving the crisis and ending its repercussions is in the hands of their majesties and highnesses,” the GCC secretariat said in an emailed statement on Tuesday, citing Secretary General Abdul Latif Al Zayani. It added that Al Zayani’s job was to “execute orders,” not resolve crises.

Al Zayani also denounced what he said were Qatari media attempts to suggest his Bahraini nationality colored his approach to the conflict.

Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport links with Qatar in June, accusing it of funding extremism and cozying up to Shiite-ruled Iran, Saudi Arabia’s chief regional rival. Qatar denied the charges and has accused its neighbors of trying to undermine its sovereignty.

Qatari media outlets have lately suggested that Al Zayani is incapable of playing a neutral role in the conflict. On Oct. 18, Qatar’s Raya newspaper ran a caricature depicting him as a puppet controlled by Saudi and U.A.E. hands.

Al Zayani spoke out a day after Bahrain’s foreign minister suggested that Doha’s membership in the six-member GCC be suspended until Qatar “comes to its senses.” Bahrain said it wouldn’t attend the annual GCC summit in Kuwait in December if Qatar does, and announced it would impose visas on Qatari citizens and residents.

Bahrain’s tougher line appears to quash any hopes of an imminent resolution to the spat. Last week, its minister of industry suggested otherwise when he told a conference in Saudi Arabia that the feud was “not of a long-term nature.”

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