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Monday, August 2, 2021

Blockade to continue after Qatar rejects demands

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Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Omar Chatriwala/Doha News

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt will continue to isolate Qatar politically and economically after their demands were rejected.

The quartet officials expressed anger and disappointment yesterday at Qatar’s decision, which comes amid a monthlong blockade against the country.

The demands included shutting down Al Jazeera, closing a Turkish military base in Doha and compensating the boycotting countries unspecified amounts of money, among other things.

Flags of the boycotting nations (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt). Credit: WAM

Speaking yesterday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said that Qatar has failed to “realize the gravity of the situation.”

His Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan went further, denouncing Qatar in no uncertain terms.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, he said “Doha has no interest in its brethren, nor its surroundings. It is interested in extremism, instigation, subversion and terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s FM Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir said, “We’re not doing this because we want to hurt Qatar, we’re doing this to help Qatar.”

For its part, Qatar has said that it cannot accept its neighbors’ demands because they are an affront to the nation’s sovereignty.

Speaking in London yesterday, Qatars’ foreign minister said:

“I know that this message will not be well received in some of our neighboring capitals, but there are serious problems in the Middle East region, and silencing Qatar will not solve them.

The answer to our disagreement is not blockade and ultimatums, it is dialogue and reason.”

What comes next

Authorities have stopped short of threatening any new specific sanctions against Qatar.

But the Saudi minister did say “we have the right to take any measures in line with international law,” Al Jazeera reports.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: arwcheek / Flickr

And in an editorial yesterday, the National warned that “Doha must not interpret political calculations as procrastination.”

It also quoted the UAE’s foreign affairs minister as saying, “It is important that we exert all efforts … We must do everything to free the region of anyone who may spread dissent and chaos.”

The quartet is slated to meet in Bahrain next, but no date has been announced yet.

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