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Monday, March 1, 2021

No resolution after boycotting countries meet to discuss Qatar

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

A two-month-long blockade against Qatar looks set to continue after four boycotting countries doubled down on their political demands yesterday.

To end the de facto siege, Qatar must “stop funding terrorism, interfering in (other countries’) internal affairs, inciting hatred and adhere to regional and international agreements,” officials from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt announced.

Meeting of foreign ministers in Manama. Credit: Egyptian foreign ministry

Speaking after a meeting in Manama yesterday, Bahrain’s foreign minister told reporters:

“We are ready to engage in discussions with Qatar if it expresses its genuine desire to implement our demands.”

Saudi’s foreign minister added that the quartet was holding fast to a list of 13 demands on Qatar, including closing Al Jazeera and shutting down a Turkish military base in Doha.

“These demands are not negotiable. We cannot shrink (the list) down,” he said, according to Al Jazeera.

Notably however, the countries did not announce any new actions against Qatar, indicating that they do not wish to escalate the dispute further.

Qatar reaction

For its part, Qatar continues to reject the notion that it supports terrorism and that the allegation is a front to get the country to fall into line with Gulf politics.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in 2016. Credit: MBA_AlThani/Twitter

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Qatar’s foreign minister said the boycotting nations still have “no clear vision.”

Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani added:

“They claim that the steps they took against Qatar are related to their sovereignty and national security; on the contrary these steps violate the international declaration of human rights and international law and the freedom of movement. This is part of the contradictions in the statement.”

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