Qatar, Mauritania suspend ties with Israel

Friday, 16 January 2009 21:56

Qatar and Mauritania have decided to suspend their ties with Israel following a regional summit in Doha to discuss the war on Gaza. “Mauritania and Qatar have decided during a meeting behind closed doors to suspend their ties with Israel,” a Mauritanian diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Qatar has hosted an Israeli trade bureau since 1996, while Mauritania has had diplomatic ties with the Israeli regime since 1999.

The Nouakchott government called back its ambassador to Tel Aviv after Israel refused to heed international calls to halt attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Tel Aviv launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27 to put an end to rocket attacks against southern Israeli towns. At least 1,133 Palestinians have died during the offensive, while some 5,150 others have been wounded.

Hamas, the democratically-elected ruler of the impoverished Gaza Strip, demands a cessation of an 18-month Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave — home to some 1.5 million Palestinians — before its fighters suspend retaliatory rocket attacks.

The UN Security Council adopted resolution 1860 which calls for an immediate end to the ongoing crisis. Both sides, however, have rejected the resolution.

The decision by Mauritania and Qatar to suspend ties with Israel comes after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called on Arab countries at the Friday meeting to severe all ‘direct and indirect ties with Israel’ and close their embassies.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also called for a boycott on all Israeli goods.

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