Cairo meeting of opponents of Qatar calling for dialogue

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – FAYEZ NURELDINE – | A man in front of an advertisement for Qatari airline “Qatar Airways”, in Riyadh on June 5, 2017

Saudi Arabia and its allies, engaged in an armed struggle with Qatar, met in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss future approaches to Doha, which called for “dialogue” to resolve the unprecedented crisis in the Gulf.

The meeting of diplomats from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain took place in a building of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was to end later in the day.

Ryad and its allies broke diplomatic relations with the small gas-rich emirate on 5 June, accusing them of supporting “terrorism” and maintaining too close relations with Saudi Arabia’s rival Saudi Arabia Middle East. They also imposed economic sanctions on Doha, with Ryad closing its only land border.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – KARIM JAAFAR – | The border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, closed by Riyadh since June 5, 2017

In order to put an end to the crisis, the four countries sent Qatar a list of 13 requests, urging it to comply by 2 July and extending the ultimatum by two days.

They demand, among other things, the closure of a Turkish military base and Al Jazeera television, which Ryad and his allies are overly aggressive, as well as the reduction of the Doha relations with Iran.

Qatar, which rejected the accusations of terrorism, officially responded to these demands on Monday in a message to Kuwait, which acts as a mediator.

In Qatar, Qatar’s foreign minister Mohamed bin Abderrahmane Al-Thani said his country was ready to “engage in a negotiation process in a clear framework that guarantees its sovereignty.”

– “Unrealistic” –

On Tuesday, however, he said the list of 13 requests made to Doha by Ryad and his allies to resolve the crisis and calling on him to comply with it by 2 July, was “unrealistic and irreceivable” before extending it by two days This ultimatum.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – FAYEZ NURELDINE – | A man in front of an agency of the National Bank of Qatar (QNB) in Riyadh, closed since Saudi Arabia broke all diplomatic ties with Qatar, June 5, 2017

This list “is not about terrorism, it calls for an end to freedom of expression,” he said.

Doha also considers that its neighbors are trying to undermine its sovereignty in its foreign policy.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyane said it was “premature” to talk about further measures against Qatar if the country had been banished for a month and did not adhere to the demands of its opponents.

He again accused Qatar of “allowing, giving refuge and inciting terrorism”, hoping that Doha “will follow the path of wisdom.”

– Calls for dialogue –

US President Donald Trump, who attacked the beginning of the crisis in Qatar, reiterated Sunday “the importance of stopping the financing of terrorism” and “to discredit extremist ideology.”

The US, like other Western countries and the UN Security Council, however, called on the Gulf rivals to dialogue to resolve this crisis in a Middle East already agitated by many conflicts.

In addition to the sanctions imposed on Doha by Ryad, Abu Dhabi, Manama and Cairo, Saudi Arabia closed Qatar’s only land border, forcing it to turn to Iran and Turkey for its imported food requirements By air or sea.

Underlining the “economic and financial risks arising from the dispute” which “is unlikely to be resolved quickly,” Moody’s credit rating agency confirmed Qatar’s credit rating but lowered its prospect from “stable” to negative ” .

Despite these sanctions, Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), announced on Tuesday its intention to increase gas production by one-third, from 77 million tonnes to 100 million tonnes by 2014.

In the event of pressure from Saudi Arabia and its allies to prevent a partnership with international companies in this sector, Qatar will alone increase the production, assured the boss of Qatar Petroleum.

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