Gulf states consider further Qatar sanctions

  • Qatari minister cites ‘aggression’
- Reuters, LONDON/CAIRO

Jul 6, 2017-

Qatar’s Foreign Minister accused four Arab neighbours of “clear aggression” against his country as they met in Cairo to weigh further measures against a state they accuse of fostering terrorism in the region.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said charges cited by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in cutting diplomatic and transport links a month ago “were clearly designed to create anti-Qatar sentiment in the west”.

“Qatar continues to call for dialogue despite the violation of international laws and 

regulations, despite the separation of 12,000 families, despite the siege that is a clear aggression and an insult to all international treaties, bodies and jurisdictions,” 

he told a meeting at London’s Chatham House think-tank.

The rift between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours has aroused deep concern among Western allies who see the region’s ruling dynasties as key partners in energy and defence.

Qatar has invested heavily in infrastructure projects in Western states and maintains close diplomatic collaboration with the United States over the conflict in Syria.

“Reading between the lines, the blockading countries were demanding that we have to surrender our sovereignty to end the siege, something which ... Qatar will never do,” he said.

As Sheikh Mohammed spoke, foreign ministers of the four states were meeting in Cairo to consider Qatar’s response to 13 demands they have made in return for ending sanctions.

The Arab countries have demanded Qatar curtail its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, shut down the pan-Arab al Jazeera TV channel, close down a Turkish military base and downgrade its ties with regional arch-rival Iran.

The Qatari minister suggested he saw little hope of a rapid reconciliation and that his country was preparing for a more protracted rift.

“What we’ve done in the last few weeks is develop different alternative for ways to ensure the supply chain for the country not to be cut off.”

He looked ahead to the soccer world cup that Qatar does not host until 2022

“Even if the blockade is lifted, we have to rely on ourselves and ensure we deliver a World Cup that is attractive to the world.”

Responding to the accusation that it was now too close to regional rival Iran, he said Doha had to live alongside Tehran since the two states shared a gas field.

Published: 06-07-2017 09:33

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