Gulf crisis: ‘Doha not eager for talks if blockade is not lifted’ FM

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Monday told reporters that his country will not be bullied into negotiations with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt and allies if they do not lift the air, sea and land blockades they have imposed on the tiny Emirate over terrorism funding charges.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani underscored that Qatar has been unjustly singled out by the Saudi Arabia-led bloc on purported reasons.

“We have to make it very clear for everyone, negotiations must be done in a civilized way and should have a solid basis and not under pressure or under blockade,” al-Thani said.

“Qatar under blockade – there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade.”

Al-Thani’s comments challenged UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash’s statement to reporters in Paris, pointing out that the blockades could take years should Qatar not meet demands.

“We do not want to escalate, we want to isolate,” Gargash said.

“This isolation can take years.”

On June 5, the Saudi-led bloc severed ties with Qatar, which they accuse of funding terrorism. The bloc pressed ahead to impose land, air and sea blockades and ordaining Qatari residents to leave their territories within two weeks – the ultimatum expired Monday.

Qatar indicated that it would not adopt the same measures against residents of the besieging countries.

Al-Thani pointedly indicated that the Gulf countries have not forwarded any demands adding that they have no ground to do so.

“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.”

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE are said to have recalled their citizens in Qatar.

Qatar Monday reassured companies belonging to residents of these countries that business would go on as usual.

Yousef al-Jaida, Chief Executive of the Qatar Financial Centre, which administers special rules for foreign-owned companies operating in Qatar, indicated that the Qatari government was also prepared to support local banks if foreign institutions withdraw deposits from them because of the economic boycott, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) reports.

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