Kuwait, the main mediator in a near-five month political crisis between Qatar and its Gulf rivals led by Saudi Arabia, warned on Tuesday that the dispute could escalate.
Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, in an address to parliament, also said that Kuwait’s goal was to save the Gulf Cooperation Council union from ‘cracking and collapsing’.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as Egypt, severed all diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing the gas-rich emirate of supporting Sunni Islamist extremist groups and having too close ties to Shia Iran.
Kuwait has led mediation efforts since then, but without success.
‘Everyone should know that Kuwait’s mediation is based on a keen awareness that this crisis risks escalation,’ Al-Sabah said.
The worsening of the breakdown between Doha and the Saudi-led bloc leaves Gulf states vulnerable to foreign interference, he warned.
‘An escalation would be an explicit invitation for regional and international intervention, which would have serious consequences for the security of the Gulf nations and their people,’ the emir said.
‘History and future generations will not forgive anyone who contributes, even one word, to fuelling this dispute.’
Qatar warned last week that the crisis is hampering operations against the Islamic State group out of its Al-Udeid air base,
home to some 11,000 US soldiers.
US secretary of state Rex Tillerson has just visited Riyadh and Doha in hopes of easing the spat and unifying Washington’s Gulf allies against Iran.
‘We cannot force talks among people who are not ready to talk,’ Tillerson said.