Qatar's foreign minister called for "dialogue" yesterday to resolve the Gulf diplomatic crisis, accusing Arab states that have cut ties with Qatar of trying to undermine the nation's sovereignty.
"Qatar continues to call for dialogue," Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told the Chatham House think tank in London, as the Arab states held talks in Egypt to discuss their next move. "We welcome any serious efforts to resolve our differences with our neighbours," he said, adding: "We don't accept intervention in our own affairs." He accused Saudi Arabia and its regional allies of "demanding that we must surrender our sovereignty as the price for ending the siege".
Arab states that have cut ties with Qatar held talks in Egypt yesterday to discuss their next move in the Gulf diplomatic crisis. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry welcomed his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for the talks at a ministry building in central Cairo, a month after the countries severed ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting extremism.
The countries issued the 13-point list of demands on June 22, giving Qatar 10 days to respond. The deadline was extended by 48 hours on Sunday at the request of Kuwait, which is mediating in the crisis, and Qatar handed in the response on Monday.
Qatar entered a row with Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries, which on June 5 cut ties with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights over alleged support for terrorism. Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis continue with help from Kuwait. The four countries have threatened to impose further sanctions on Qatar if it does not comply with their list of 13 demands, which was presented to Doha 10 days ago. The 13 demands have not been officially published, but a Kuwaiti diplomatic source confirmed on Monday that the list as it has appeared in the media was genuine. The list includes 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 denies 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.
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