Gulf Arab states threw their support behind Qatar Thursday in a row with Egypt, which accused Doha of backing “terrorism” during heated discussions about Cairo’s air strikes on ‘jihadists’ in Libya.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) secretary general Abdullatif al-Zayani said in a statement he “rejects accusations by Egypt’s permanent envoy at the Arab League that Qatar supports terrorism”.
Zayani said the accusations are “unfounded, contradict reality, and ignore the sincere efforts by Qatar as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council and Arab states in combating terrorism and extremism at all levels.”
The Egyptian accusation came in response to reservations voiced by Qatar about a clause in an Arab League statement supporting “Egypt’s right to legitimately defend itself and measures taken to confront terrorism and air strikes carried out against ISIL in Libya,” Cairo’s official MENA news agency said.
The reservations “reveal Qatar’s position in supporting terrorism,” MENA quoted Egypt’s envoy at the Arab League, Tariq Adel, as saying.
Qatar has recalled its ambassador to Egypt over the spat.
Egyptian F-16s bombed militant bases in the eastern Libyan city of Derna on Tuesday, after ISIL group released a gruesome video showing the beheadings of a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians who had gone to the North African country seeking work.
Egypt’s statements “do not help in strengthening Arab solidarity at a time when our countries are facing major challenges threatening their security, stability, and sovereignty,” said Zayani.