Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said yesterday Qatar was ready to sit down with fellow Gulf Arab states to resolve any dispute but he said sovereignty was not subject to compromise.
Speaking at a joint news conference with visiting French President Emanual Macron, Tamim also said that Qatar has been committed to fighting terrorism from the beginning, adding that reports being floated had been investigated and were shown to be erroneous, according to Reuters. Macron's one-day trip to the small Gulf nation comes as it faces continued isolation and a boycott by some of its Arab neighbors.
The Gulf crisis is the worst to hit the region since the establishment of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 1981. With the support of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, the Saudis announced on June 5 that they were suspending all ties with Qatar. The GCC members closed their airspace and seaports to Qatar, as well as the small peninsular nation's sole land border with Saudi Arabia. Earlier this week, a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Kuwait failed to bring the standoff any closer to a resolution.
These four Arab nations that cut ties with Qatar previously urged the tiny Gulf nation to commit to six principles on combating extremism and terrorism and to negotiate a plan with specific measures to implement them.
They initially made 13 demands, which Qatar also dismissed. The 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.
Qatar's ruling emir and French President Macron signed $12 billion in deals yesterday, including the purchase of 12 French-made Dassault Rafale fighter jets with the option of buying 36 more, as reported by AP. Qatar exercised its existing right to purchase 12 more, bringing the total number of Rafales the Gulf Arab country will have to 36.
In a rare press conference, Qatar's ruling emir expressed his regret for the boycott and said it was especially disheartening that the crisis erupted during the holy month of Ramadan in June.
Meanwhile, France and Qatar also agreed yesterday on a deal for Qatar to purchase 490 VBCI armored vehicles from French firm Nexter, and a transportation deal with France's national rail authority to manage and maintain Doha's planned metro, as well as a light rail system north of Doha. Qatar announced it would additionally buy 50 Airbus twin-engine A321s with option of buying 30 more.