Facing a deadline to comply with a list of demands issued by Arab nations that have cut diplomatic ties to the energy-rich country, Qatar has dismissed the ultimatum given by four Arab countries.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the demands were made to be rejected, adding that the Arab ultimatum was aimed not at tackling terrorism but at curtailing his country's sovereignty. But he told reporters in Rome that Doha remained ready to sit down and discuss the grievances raised by its Arab neighbors.
"This list of demands is made to be rejected. It's not meant to be accepted or ... to be negotiated," Sheikh Mohammed said in Rome. "The state of Qatar instead of rejecting it as a principle, we are willing to engage in (dialogue), providing the proper conditions for further dialogue." He added that no one had the right to issue an ultimatum to a sovereign country.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt have given Qatar until Sunday evening to comply with a list of demands to end the dispute.
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Russian President Vladimir Putin called for dialogue to solve the Gulf crisis, according to Qatar's official news agency. The QNA reported on Saturday that the two leaders had a phone conversation where they stressed the need to solve the diplomatic row through diplomatic means and direct dialogue among all sides. Al-Thani and Putin also discussed bilateral relations as well as strengthening relations in the energy and investment sectors.
With the support of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain, the Saudis announced on June 5 they were suspending all ties with Qatar. They closed their airspace to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate's only land border, a vital route for its food imports. They also ordered all Qataris to leave and their own nationals to return home. Last week, Riyadh laid down a list of 13 demands for Qatar, including the closure of Al Jazeera television, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate. The UAE warned that Qatar should take the demands seriously or face a "divorce" from its Gulf neighbors. Qatar denied the accusations, calling the move "unjustified." The escalation came two weeks after the website of Qatar's official news agency was allegedly hacked by unknown individuals who reportedly published statements attributed to the country's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Turkey has been trying to do its best to mediate since the crisis broke out. Ankara displayed its support to Qatar as Parliament approved two deals to deploy troops to an air base in Qatar. Ankara's move to deploy troops to the small country is meant to increase stability and help Turkish peacemaking efforts function better.