The West African nation of Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, severed ties with Qatar on Tuesday over allegations it “supports terrorists”, the state news agency reported. Another African country, OPEC member Gabon, also condemned the small Gulf Arab state in very strong termsbut did not severe ties.
The Arab world’s biggest powers, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, cut diplomatic relations with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and Iran. Qatar vehemently denies the claims.
The Mauritanian ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement published in Arabic by the Mauritanian Information Agency:
“The state of Qatar has linked its policies … in support of terrorist organisations and the propagation of extremist ideas.
This has resulted in heavy losses to human life in these Arab countries, in Europe and throughout the world,”
Oil producer Gabon condemned Qatar for “failing to respect international commitments and agreements on counter-terrorism,” a statement from its foreign ministry said, The Central African nation was “preoccupied with Qatar’s continuing support for terrorist groups”, it said.
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Than
In a Statement to journalists in Paris, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir said the economic squeeze is intended to make Qatar act:
“like a normal country”. Nobody wants to hurt Qatar. It has to choose whether it must move in one direction or another direction.”
He made clear the countries in the region and the Arab League expected Qatar to end it’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hama in the occupied territories and other extremist groups.
He also called for an end to what he called Qatar’s meddling in matters that concern other independent nation states and an end to Qatar’s “hostile media”.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Than, has responded to the allegations saying:
“There is no single evidence that the Qatar government is supporting radical Islamists.”