Putin calls for greater diplo­matic effort as dead­line about to ex­pire

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

DUBAI, United Arab Emi­rates — Qatar faces pos­si­ble fur­ther sanc­tions by Arab states that have sev­ered ties with Doha over al­le­ga­tions of links to ter­ror­ism, as a dead­line to ac­cept a se­ries of de­mands is ex­pected to ex­pire on Sun­day night with no signs of the cri­sis end­ing.

Qatari Foreign Min­is­ter Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Ab­dul­rah­man al-Thani said the de­mands were “made to be re­jected”, adding that the ul­ti­ma­tum was aimed not at tack­ling ter­ror­ism but at cur­tail­ing his coun­try’s sovereignty.

But he told re­porters in Rome that Doha re­mained ready to sit down and dis­cuss the griev­ances raised by its neigh­bors.

“This list of de­mands is made to be re­jected. It’s not meant to be ac­cepted or ... to be ne­go­ti­ated,” Sheikh Mo­hammed said. “The State of Qatar in­stead of re­ject­ing it as a prin­ci­ple, we are will­ing to en­gage in (di­a­logue), pro­vid­ing the proper con­di­tions for fur­ther di­a­logue.”

He added that no one had the right to is­sue an ul­ti­ma­tum to a sovereign coun­try.

The feud erupted last month when Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Bahrain and Egypt sev­ered diplo­matic and travel ties with Qatar, ac­cus­ing it of sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism and be­ing an ally of re­gional foe Iran, charges which Doha de­nies.

The coun­tries have threat- ened fur­ther sanc­tions against Qatar if it does not com­ply with their list of 13 de­mands which were pre­sented to Doha by Kuwaiti me­di­a­tors 10 days ago.

The de­mands in­clude clos­ing a Turk­ish mil­i­tary base in Qatar and shut­ting down the al-Jazeera pan-Arab tele­vi­sion net­work, which Doha also re­jected.

Mean­while, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on Satur­day called on all sides to strengthen po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic ef­forts, as he held a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad Al Thani.

“The two lead­ers dis­cussed the cri­sis in re­la­tions be­tween Qatar and a num­ber of other states. Vladimir Putin stressed the im­por­tance of po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic ef­forts aimed at over­com­ing the dis­agree­ments and nor­mal­iz­ing the cur­rent com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tion,” the Krem­lin said in a state­ment.

Ear­lier on Satur­day, Putin had a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with King of Bahrain Ha­mad bin Isa Al Khal­ifa, dur­ing which the two lead­ers also touched upon the Qatar is­sue, not­ing that it brought a neg­a­tive ef­fect to the al­ready com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tion in the Mid­dle East.

The Krem­lin said both lead­ers stressed the need for a “di­rect di­a­logue based on mu­tual re­spect”.

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