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Qatar withdraws troops from Djibouti-Eritrea border mission

Wednesday June 14, 2017

Qatar said on Wednesday it had withdrawn its peacekeeping troops from the disputed frontier between Djibouti and Eritrea, after the two East African countries sided with Saudi Arabia and its allies in their standoff with Qatar.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry did not give a reason for the move but it comes as Doha faces a diplomatic crisis with some of its Arab neighbors. They cut ties a week ago, accusing Qatar of backing Islamists and Iran, something Doha strongly denies.

"Qatar has been an impartial diplomatic mediator in resolving crises and disputes between brotherly and friendly countries and will continue to be a major player in the international community," the ministry said in a statement.

It did not specify the number of troops affected but said it had informed Djibouti's government of the withdrawal.

According to a U.N. monitoring group, Qatar had said around 200 troops were stationed there.

Qatar, which has had close ties with Eritrea, deployed a small contingent of peacekeepers along the border between the Horn of Africa neighbors in 2010 after clashes broke out over disputed territory in June 2008.

It also helped mediate a peace deal.

Djibouti downgraded ties with Qatar last week, saying it was acting in "solidarity with the international coalition combating terrorism and extremist violence, as well as with the Gulf and Arab countries".


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