Malaysia takes “active neutrality” approach on spat between Qatar and Arab nations

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has taken an “active neutrality” approach in the ongoing spat between Qatar and some Arab countries which began on June 5.

The Foreign Ministry said the position was taken as Malaysia shares deep and abiding relations with all countries involved.

“Our relations are across the whole sphere of human activity – particularly cultural, religion, economic and people-to-people. For this reason, these difficulties are a matter of deep concern for the Government and people of Malaysia,” Wisma Putra said in a statement today.

Referring to a media statement by PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on June 27 on the matter, the Foreign Ministry said it would like to emphasise that Malaysia has been in constant contact with all the countries involved since the beginning of these difficulties.

“YAB Prime Minister and YB Foreign Minister have been communicating with their counterparts across the Muslim world since that time, in order to apprise each other of the latest developments as well as to find a resolution to these difficulties.

“During these contacts, Malaysia has emphasised its neutrality.

“At the same time, we have offered to play any constructive role that the parties involved feel is required. This offer and concern have been well received and appreciated,” it said.

Wisma Putra at the same time however said that the involved countries have expressed their hope for other countries and international organisations to provide the countries involved the opportunity to resolve these difficulties through their own regional framework, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as well as the mediation efforts of the Emir of Kuwait.

“Malaysia and other countries outside the GCC respect their wishes. Consequently, we will support all efforts by the GCC and the Emir of Kuwait,” the statement said.

“At the same time, we will continue our policy of neutrality. But it is a policy of “active neutrality”, our offer to play a constructive role still stands – we will continue our contacts with all parties concerned, and we will continue to urge them to take all necessary steps to de-escalate tensions,” it added.

The statement said that Malaysia hopes for a speedy and amicable solution to these difficulties – it can only be a boon to the Muslim world as a whole.

“At the same time, we remain committed to combating and confronting terrorism and extremism, and support all efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region,” it said.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain announced the suspension of political, economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the emirate of support for extremist groups – a claim Doha denies.

The four states closed their airspace to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate’s only land border, a vital route for its food imports. They also ordered all Qataris to leave and their own nationals to return home.

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