Quar­tet open to Qatar di­a­logue

Bloc main­tains boy­cott, slaps no new sanc­tions

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

The four Arab coun­tries which have cut ties with Qatar said yes­ter­day they were ready for talks to tackle the dis­pute if Doha showed will­ing­ness to deal with their de­mands. The for­eign min­is­ters of Bahrain, Saudi Ara­bia, Egypt and the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE) met in the Bahraini cap­i­tal Manama to dis­cuss the cri­sis that has raised ten­sions across the re­gion. Diplo­matic ef­forts led by Kuwait and backed by West­ern pow­ers have failed to end the dis­pute, in which the four states have sev­ered travel and com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Qatar.

“The four coun­tries are ready for di­a­logue with Qatar with the con­di­tion that it an­nounces its sin­cere will­ing­ness to stop fund­ing ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ism and its com­mit­ment to not in­ter­fere in other coun­tries’ for­eign af­fairs and re­spond to the 13 de­mands,” Bahrain’s for­eign min­is­ter, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khal­ifa, told a joint news con­fer­ence af­ter the meet­ing. They an­nounced no new eco­nomic sanc­tions on the Gulf state. The for­eign min­is­ters also lauded the role of HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to re­solve the cri­sis with Qatar within an Arab frame­work.

Saudi Ara­bia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have pre­vi­ously is­sued a list of 13 de­mands for Qatar, which in­clude cur­tail­ing its sup­port for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, shut­ting down the Doha-based Al Jazeera chan­nel, clos­ing a Turk­ish mil­i­tary base and down­grad­ing its re­la­tions with Gulf en­emy Iran. Saudi For­eign Min­is­ter Adel Al-Jubeir said Qatar was not se­ri­ous in tack­ling the coun­tries’ de­mands. “We are ready to talk with Qatar on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the de­mands, on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the prin­ci­ples, if Qatar is se­ri­ous, but it has been clear that it is not,” he said. The four coun­tries have also listed “six prin­ci­ples” they want Qatar to adopt.

The Saudi-led bloc cut ties with the Gulf state on June 5, ac­cus­ing it of back­ing mil­i­tant groups and cozy­ing up to their arch-foe Iran, al­le­ga­tions Doha de­nies. Earlier yes­ter­day, Al-Hayat news­pa­per said, cit­ing uniden­ti­fied Gulf sources, that the four coun­tries “are ex­pected to im­pose sanc­tions that will grad­u­ally af­fect the Qatari econ­omy”. Saudi Ara­bia has closed its land bor­der with Qatar while all four coun­tries have cut air and sea links with Doha, de­mand­ing the gas ex­port­ing coun­try take sev­eral mea­sures to show it was chang­ing its poli­cies.

Tur­key and Iran have stepped in to pro­vide fresh pro­duce, poul­try and dairy prod­ucts to Qatar in­stead of Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE, with Oman pro­vid­ing al­ter­na­tive ports to those in the UAE. The four Arab coun­tries added 18 more groups and in­di­vid­u­als they say are linked to Qatar to their “ter­ror­ist” lists last week. — Agen­cies

MANAMA: The for­eign min­is­ters of Saudi Ara­bia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt pose for a group photo yes­ter­day. — KUNA

A girl plays with col­ored balls dur­ing a Freaky Sum­mer Party arts fes­ti­val in Minsk yes­ter­day. — AFP

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