Qatar says will reject Arab demands but ready for dialogue

Qatar's foreign minister rejected the Arab demands, and said conflicts should be worked out through negotiation, not by imposing ultimatums.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani said Qatar would not close down the Turkish base in his country or shut Al Jazeera as demanded by the Arab countries.

Updated Jul 2, 2017

Qatar will reject a series of demands made by several other Arab states, its foreign minister said on Saturday, adding that their ultimatum was aimed not at tackling terrorism but at curtailing his country's sovereignty.

But Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani, speaking to reporters in Rome, said Doha remained ready to sit down and discuss the grievances raised by its Arab neighbours.

The comments came ahead of a deadline set by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt for Doha to accept 13 demands. Officials say they are aimed at ending a rift that erupted last month over accusations that Qatar supports terrorism, charges it denies.

The minister allowed that any country is free to raise grievances with Qatar, provided they have proof, but said any such conflicts should be worked out through negotiation, not by imposing ultimatums.

"This list of demands is to be rejected, not to be accepted. We are willing to engage in dialogue but under proper conditions," he said.

TRT World's Zeina Awad has more details from Doha.

The demands included severing ties with terrorist groups, closing down the pan-Arab Al Jazeera satellite channel, downgrading ties with arch-rival Iran and closing a Turkish air base in Qatar.

Arab states have said the demands are not negotiable and warned that further unspecified measures will follow if Qatar does not comply.

Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar would not close down the Turkish base in his country or shut Al Jazeera as demanded by the Arab countries.

He spoke after arriving in Rome from the United States.

Diplomatic efforts

US president Donald Trump spoke with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to discuss the dispute between Qatar and Gulf and Arab powers who severed diplomatic and travel links with Qatar.

Trump and Erdogan discussed ways to resolve the dispute "while ensuring that all countries work together to stop terrorist funding and to combat extremist ideology", the White House said in a statement.

Turkey has backed Doha in its rift with four Arab states, and has a military base in the Gulf country.

Earlier on Saturday, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin had separate telephone discussions with the leaders of Qatar and

Bahrain about the rift and stressed the need for a diplomatic solution. 

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies