Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has once again rejected a list of conditions set by Saudi Arabia and allies to restore diplomatic relations with the emirate, saying they are simply unrealistic and unattainable.
“The list is unrealistic and is not actionable,” said Al Thani on Tuesday at a joint press conference after talks with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Doha.
The top Qatari diplomat said some terms in the list, such as shutting down Qatar’s broadcaster Al-Jazeera, were against accepted international rules. He added that Qatar has done its best to work out a solution for the dispute with Saudi Arabia and allies which began a month ago over allegations of Qatar’s support for terrorism.
“It’s not about terrorism, it’s talking about shutting down the freedom of speech,” he said, adding, “The state of Qatar has adopted a very constructive attitude since the beginning of the crisis. We are trying to act mature and discuss the matter.”
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, who have cut ties to Qatar and imposed restrictions on travel and trade with the country, originally gave Doha 10 days to meet the list of 13 demands. The ultimatum expired Sunday and then extended for another 48 hours on a request by emir of Kuwait, who is mediating in the dispute.
Qatar handed its response to Kuwait on Monday but nothing has yet been disclosed of the official document. Al Thani also refused to give further details but said Qatar would continue efforts to find a solution based on dialogue. Qatari officials have denied accusations that they have sponsored terror groups while maintaining that they would remain independent in their foreign policy. The country is part of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional body which is dominated by Saudi Arabia.
During the press conference on Tuesday, the German foreign minister also hoped that the two sides of the dispute could start talks. Gabriel said he had seen chances of that during meetings on Monday in Saudi Arabia and also in Qatar and that “international bodies” could be involved in the discussions.