(WASHINGTON, DC) – Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir called on Qatar today to end its support for terrorism and extremism in the Middle East.
“This idea that you can fund extremist groups, that you can pay ransom to terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, that you can send $300 million to the Shi’ite militias in Iraq with most of it ending up with the Quds Force in Iran, is not acceptable,” he said in a press briefing at the Saudi Embassy in Washington today. “I think most countries in the world would agree with the demand to stop this.”
“We hope that reason will prevail and that our brothers in Qatar will do the right thing and respond to the demands of the international community to cease these activities. Because we think we can’t be on both sides of this issue. You cannot fight against ISIS, you cannot commit to participate in the global center against extremism, you cannot commit to participate in a financial center to combat terror financing and at the same time allow these things to go on,” he said.
Minister Al-Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia has expressed its grievances and it is now up to Qatar to make amends, and he said Saudi Arabia’s demands are non-negotiable. Specifically, Saudi Arabia has demanded that Qatar end its practice of harboring known terrorists, prohibit funding from within its borders to Al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS), and shut down its news network, Al-Jazeera, which has been inciting violence throughout the region.
“It’s very simple. We made our point. We took our steps. And it’s up to [Qatar] to amend [its] behavior. And once they do, then things will be worked out. But if they don’t, they will remain isolated,” said Minister Al-Jubeir. “If Qatar wants to come back into the GCC pool, they know what they have to do.”
The Foreign Minister reiterated that the decision to cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar was made after taking into account the history of its behavior, including harboring known terrorists and funding extremist groups throughout the region.
“It was an issue that has been building up, and then a decision was made that enough is enough. Zero tolerance,” he said.