Lift blockade first for talks to begin, says Qatar
June 19 2017 11:52 PM
Qatar
HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani

Doha

* Govt to support banks if necessary
* US, UK, France also affected
* Qatar yet to get grievances' list
* Charges "a publicity stunt"


Qatar will not negotiate with its neighbours to resolve the Gulf diplomatic dispute unless they first lift the trade and travel boycott they imposed two weeks ago, HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Monday.
He called measures imposed against Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and others "an act of aggression".
"We have to make it very clear for everyone, negotiations must be done in a civilised way and should have a solid basis and not under pressure or under blockade," he told reporters in Doha.
"Until now we didn't see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the pre-condition for anything to move forward."
Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar had not received any demands from the Gulf states or from countries seeking a diplomatic solution, including Kuwait, the United States, France and Britain, as the conflict dragged into its third week.
"Why they didn't submit their demands yet? For us, there is no clear answer for this," he said.
"But what we have seen until now, there is no solid ground for these demands, that's why they didn't submit their demands yet." 
The foreign minister said the economic impact on Qatar had so far proved to be minimal.
The Gulf political crisis has also affected countries outside the region.
"France, UK or the United States -- they are strong allies of Qatar and we have a great deal of cooperation together in terms of military, defence, security, economically," said Sheikh Mohammed.
"So a blockade on Qatar and measures being taken against Qatar in this way is affecting the interests of those countries as well, directly."
Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed al-Thani, Director of Qatar's Government Communications Office, said in a statement :"It is unfortunate that our neighbours have chosen to invest their time and resources in a baseless propaganda campaign." He called the terrorism accusations a "publicity stunt".
Thousands of Qataris have been unable to board flights to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and cut off from relatives in those countries. Sheikh Saif said Saudi, Emirati, and Bahraini families had been "forcibly recalled" by their governments despite being invited to stay by Qatar. 
The Qatar Financial Centre, which administers special rules for foreign-owned companies operating in Qatar, said it has no plans to take any action against Saudi Arabian, Emirati or Bahraini firms in response to their governments' sanctions against Doha. "It remains business as usual, and we intend to keep it that way," its CEO Yousef al-Jaida said.
Jaida said Qatar's government was also prepared to support local banks if foreign institutions withdraw deposits from them because of the economic boycott.
He said the "blockade" had put at risk business deals worth $2 bn in Arab countries that have cut ties with Doha.
The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said a list of grievances for Qatar to address would be completed in the next days. 
Qatar held war games with Turkish troops on Monday, showing off one of its strong alliances after two weeks of unprecedented isolation. 
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini called for "de-escalation" and encouraged "all Gulf countries to engage in political dialogue".
Amnesty International has flagged the humanitarian cost of the crisis, warning it was "spreading fear" across the region.

Minister to go to Washington to discuss rift

HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Monday that he plans to travel to the United States next week to discuss the impact of a rift with Gulf Arab states on its economy and on the fight against terrorism.
Sheikh Mohammed also told journalists in Doha that Qatar was ready to engage in a dialogue with other Gulf parties to resolve the crisis based on clear principles and that Doha still believed a solution was possible through Kuwaiti mediation. 

Last updated: June 20 2017 12:00 AM


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