HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that the four siege countries prepared demands that were meant to be rejected.
He stressed that the demands violated international law and did not look to combat terrorism and instead focused on undermining and infringing on Qatar’s sovereignty, striking down on the freedom of press, and imposing auditing and probation mechanisms against the State of Qatar.
The foreign minister stressed during a press conference held yesterday in Rome that the countries which imposed the siege presented the list of demands to have them rejected, noting that Qatar wants instead to have a dialogue with suitable conditions.
He said that they are trying to be more practical with Kuwaiti mediation which is co-ordinated and supported by the US.
The foreign minister highlighted that the siege imposed on Qatar led to a humanitarian crisis for many families that were separated as a result of these measures. He noted that there were 12,000 cases of husbands, wives and children who were separated as a result of these measures.
Sheikh Mohamed stressed that those measures were collective punishment, a violation of international law, and the UN Charter. He said that the countries which took those measures did not respect international law.
The minister added that the siege countries implemented those measures without resorting to the conflict-resolution mechanisms agreed upon in the 2014 Riyadh agreement. Even though the demands were made to be rejected, Qatar is trying to be more constructive than the other countries, he added.
The minister said that Qatar had no reservations against discussing any grievances those countries have, provided there was a clear basis for those grievances, that they do not violate the sovereignty of any country, and that they don’t impose any guardianship which is something rejected by Qatar.
He said Qatar is trying to be more positive with mediators in Kuwait, and in light of the US support.
On the position of the Arab League and the GCC from the crisis, the foreign minister said that both councils were muted regarding the illegal measures taken against Qatar. He added that this showed Qatar that the two councils do not have any tools to resolve the crisis and did not play any role at all.
Qatar is relying on the mediation efforts led by the Kuwaiti emir, which is being supported by the US and all other friendly countries including Russia, Turkey, France, Germany, Italy, Britain along with many other countries, he said.
On the telephone call which took place yesterday between His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the foreign minister said that Russia does not want any escalation in the region and is encouraging all parties to engage in a dialogue.
The minister added that there were many meetings with the Russian side and many phone calls that took place between the Emir and President Putin.
The minister also discussed the US role and said it was true that they wanted to play a role of a mediator, but maintained that the US were part of the issue from the beginning.
The foreign minister called on US President Donald Trump to listen to the Department of State and the Department of Defence in matters related to the GCC crisis. He noted that Trump relied in his remarks regarding the crisis on things said by leaders in the region, without mentioning who those leaders were.
The foreign minister expressed his confidence that if the US president refers to his official security and defence institutions, he will find the correct information on Qatar’s role in counter-terrorism.
He pointed out that the US-Qatari strategic ties extend for half a century and cover many aspects, adding that all institutions in the US understand the importance of Qatar.
The Qatari foreign minister met in Rome yesterday with his Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano.
During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations, ways to boost them, and latest developments in the GCC countries as well as a number of regional and international issues of common concern.
Sheikh Mohamed told Alfano that Qatar was ready to engage in constructive dialogue and negotiations with the blockading countries, provided that the dialogue is based on sound foundations.