Monday, June 5, 2017 9:43 am
A senior Iranian official said on Monday the decision by some Gulf Arab states and Egypt to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar would not help end the crisis in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.
“The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders is over… it is not a way to resolve crisis. These countries have no other option but to start regional dialogue,” Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted on Monday.
“What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance,” he said in an apparent reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia.
Trump and other U.S. officials participated in a ceremonial sword dance in a trip to Saudi Arabia in May.
During the trip Trump singled out Iran as a key source of funding and support for militant groups.
Iranian authorities have criticised a rising alliance between Washington and Riyadh against Tehran, saying it would further heighten crisis in the Middle East.
Sunni Kingdom Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite-led Iran are at odds over what Riyadh sees as Tehran’s efforts to tighten its grip on Arab states, from Iraq to Lebanon, and Syria to Yemen.
In a related development, Dubai-based carrier Emirates said it will suspend all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice, joining UAE-based Etihad Airways in a similar move amid a diplomatic spat between Qatar and some of its Gulf neighbors.
Emirates said the last flight from Dubai to Doha will depart at 2:30 am on Tuesday, while the last flight from Doha to Dubai will depart at 3:50 am.
“All customers booked on Emirates’ flights to and from Doha will be provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Emirates destinations,” the airline said in an email.