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Arab League chief regrets split between Arab states and Qatar
June 5, 2017 / 3:12 PM / 4 months ago

Arab League chief regrets split between Arab states and Qatar

Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit speaks during a protest held in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Files

CAIRO (Reuters) - Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit expressed regret on Monday that relations between Qatar and major regional powers had got to the point of suspending diplomatic relations.

The Arab world’s strongest powers cut ties with Qatar on Monday over alleged support for Islamists and Iran.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut relations with Qatar in a coordinated move. Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government, and the Maldives joined in later.

“Aboul Gheit is sorry things reached this point between several Arab states and is concerned about the ramifications these differences will have on joint Arab work,” his office said in a statement.

A former Egyptian foreign minister, Aboul Gheit said he hoped Arab states would overcome their differences and present a united front against common threats to their national security.

He called on all sides to return to agreements reached in 2014, the last time matters between Qatar and its neighbours had reached a tipping point.

Qatar has for years presented itself as a mediator and power broker for the region’s many disputes, but Egypt and the Gulf Arab states resent Qatar’s support for Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, which they see as a political foe. Qatar denies it interferes in the affairs of other countries.

Reporting by Cairo newsroom; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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