Qatar backs Saudi stance on Iran ties

Cairo: Qatar has voiced support for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s call for “normal relations” with Iran.

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“We back His Highness Saudi Crown Prince’s call for a foreign policy based on principles of good neighbourliness and dialogue in the region, including with Iran,” Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman said on Twitter.

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“Adhering to the UN charter, respect for sovereignty of states and non-interference in their affairs are fundamentals of the civilised countries,” the Qatari official added.

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The Saudi Crown Prince said this week that his country is interested in “normal relations” with Iran, but blamed the latter’s “negative behaviour” for straining their links.

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Negative behaviour

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“Iran is a neighbour. We want normal and distinguished ties with it,” Prince Mohammed said in a TV interview broadcast Tuesday night. “But our problem with Iran lies in its negative behaviour whether its nuclear programme, support for outlawed militias in some countries of the region, or the ballistic missile programme. We are working with our partners in the region and the world to address these challenges. We hope to overcome them,” he added without elaborating.

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Riyadh cut off diplomatic links with Tehran in 2016 and repeatedly accused it of adopting destabilising policies and supporting proxy militias in the region, including the Al Houthi rebels in Yemen where Saudi Arabia is leading a military campaign. Riyadh also supported ex-US president Donald Trump’s maximalist policy against Iran after withdrawing his country from a controversial nuclear deal with Tehran.

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Ties have recently improved between Saudi Arabia and Qatar after a boycott of more than three years.

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