Governments asked to remain independent facing Middle East political rift

Depok, W Java (ANTARA News) – A Middle-east observer said Indonesia should choose to remain independent facing new political development involving five Middle East countries.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar.

“The government should attach greater importance to its traditional active and independent foreign policy and not take side with any of conflicting parties,” Yon Machmudi of the University of Indonesia said here on Monday.

Political map in Middle-East changes fast and hard to predict, therefore, the government should take its position based on the national interest, Yon said.

“Certainly we want peace and democracy to prevail in that region,” he said, adding he believed there had been request for Indonesia to take side with the four countries against Qatar.

Indonesia should consider long term interest before making a decision. Interference in the conflict could worsen the condition, he said.

“Indonesia should focus only on developing economic cooperation with that region and stay way from political issue,” he said.

He said the conflict was a result of long lasting disharmony in the relations between countries in that region.

“The four countries – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates – accuses Qatar of protecting terrorists,” he said.

Al Jazeera, being too independent, hurts the interest of the four countries, and in fact Egypt has arrested a journalist of Al Jazeera on charge of being a terrorist, he said.

Al Jazeera , a Doha-based state-funded broadcaster, is owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network, which is partly funded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar.

Yon said Qatar maintained an independent position adopting an open policy toward the United States as well as toward Turkey.

“This is a political pressure to force Qatar to fall in line politically with Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The charges that Qatar has supported Shiah Iran and terrorism could not be proved. Relations between Qatar, Turkey and Iran are pragmatic indicating polarization of Qatar, he said.

Earlier on Monday, WAM News Agency said the United Emirates of Arab cut diplomatic ties with Qatar for “supporting terrorism and destabilized the region.”

The Saudi new agency SPA also said that Riyadh severed diplomatic ties and closed its border with its oil rich neighboring country “for national security against terrorists and extremists.”

Egypt also cut diplomatic relations with Qatar , which it accused of providing support for terrorists including Ikhwanul Muslimin, according to Egyptian news agency as quoted.

Source: Antara News