Qatar, Saudi-led bloc trade barbs at Arab League over boycott

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ISTANBUL
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Diplomats from Qatar and the four states boycotting it exchanged heated words at an Arab League meeting on Tuesday. Tensions flared after Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi discussed the boycott in his opening speech despite the Gulf dispute not being on the agenda. He called the Gulf monarchy's critics "rabid dogs."

"Even the animals were not spared, you sent them out savagely," Muraikhi said, referring to the thousands of camels left stranded on the border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia after borders were closed.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and severed air, land and sea links with it after accusing it of backing extremist groups. Qatar strongly denies the charge and argues the isolation effort is politically motivated. They later issued a tough 13-point list of demands needed to resolve the crisis, including shutting down news outlets including Al-Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country.

Qatar refused to bow to the demands within a 10-day deadline, and the anti-Qatar bloc has begun to shift its focus toward six principles on combating extremism and terrorism. Qatari foreign minister said on July 31 that the crisis should be solved through diplomacy without touching Qatar's sovereignty and made it clear that Qatar will not accept any demands that are not in line with international law.

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