Qatar’s emir says ready to talk to end cri­sis

Sheikh Tamim says fight­ing ter­ror­ism ‘a big pri­or­ity’ as Merkel urges ‘fair com­pro­mise’

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - REGION -

BER­LIN/PARIS: Qatar is ready to sit at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble to try to end a dis­pute with its Gulf Arab neigh­bors, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad al-Thani said Fri­day while in Ber­lin.

Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplo­matic and trade links with Qatar on June 5, ac­cus­ing the world’s big­gest ex­porter of liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas of fi­nanc­ing ter­ror­ism and cozy­ing up to their archri­val Iran. Qatar de­nies sup­port­ing ex­trem­ism, say­ing the cri­sis is po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

Saudi Ara­bia’s Crown Prince Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man spoke by phone with Sheikh Tamim a week ago in what looked like a break­through. But Riyadh promptly sus­pended any di­a­logue with Doha, ac­cus­ing it of “dis­tort­ing facts” in a state news agency’s re­port of the phone in­ter­ac­tion.

“As you know we have had a siege of more than 100 days against Qatar,” Sheikh Tamim told a joint news con­fer­ence with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel in Ber­lin. “Qatar is pre­pared to take a seat at the ta­ble to solve this prob­lem.” He also said that fight­ing ter­ror­ism “is a big pri­or­ity for us and we have to con­cen­trate on the roots of ter­ror­ism.”

For her part, Merkel said she was con­cerned that there was still no so­lu­tion to the cri­sis, adding she sup­ported ef­forts by Kuwait and the United States to me­di­ate an end to the dis­pute. “We won’t solve this con­flict in the open with everyone in the world voic­ing their opin­ion” she said, call­ing for talks “that are not re­ported in the news­pa­per ev­ery­day.”

Merkel said good re­sults “are not reached in the mar­ket place but gen­er­ally achieved by talk­ing calmly and seek­ing a fair com­pro­mise.”

Ger­many has been sup­port­ing diplo­matic ef­forts to try and defuse the cri­sis. Its for­eign min­is­ter has said the coun­try’s in­tel­li­gence ser­vice would play a role in clear­ing up ac­cu­sa­tions that Qatar sup­ports ter­ror­ist groups.

Sheikh Tamim also said he re­tained con­fi­dence in Ger­man firms and will hold on to stakes in Deutsche Bank and Volk­swa­gen.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ings with Merkel, the emir went to Paris for talks with French Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron. He left the El­y­see Palace with­out speak­ing to the press. In a state­ment re­leased after meet­ing with Sheikh Tamim, Macron urged the lift­ing of a Saudi-led em­bargo on Qatar in ef­fect since June. He called for “the em­bargo mea­sures af­fect­ing the peo­ple of Qatar, in par­tic­u­lar fam­i­lies and stu­dents, to be lifted as quickly as pos­si­ble,” the state­ment said.

Macron also “ex­pressed his con­cern over the ten­sions that threaten re­gional sta­bil­ity, un­der­min­ing the po­lit­i­cal res­o­lu­tion of crises and our col­lec­tive fight against ter­ror­ism,” the state­ment said.

The emir will meet U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on the side­lines of the U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly meet­ing next week in New York, the White House said Fri­day.

The emir met in Ankara Thurs­day with Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, who’s been a ma­jor sup­porter of his coun­try dur­ing the 3month-old con­flict. Turkey has shown sol­i­dar­ity with Doha by de­liv­er­ing food and other sup­plies and boost­ing mil­i­tary ties, in­clud­ing send­ing troops to a Turk­ish base there.

Among de­mands the Arab na­tions made of Qatar in June is for all Turk­ish troops in the coun­try to be ex­pelled. Oth­ers in­clude lim­it­ing diplo­matic ties to Iran, shut­ting down the state-funded Al-Jazeera satel­lite news net­work and other me­dia out­lets and sev­er­ing ties to all “ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions,” in­clud­ing the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and Hezbol­lah. Qatar has re­jected the de­mands as vi­o­la­tions of its sovereignty.

In Ankara, the two lead­ers “stressed the need for a res­o­lu­tion through diplo­matic means” to the cri­sis, ac­cord­ing to Er­do­gan’s of­fice.

But as the emir was in Ankara call­ing for di­a­logue, a Qatari ex­ile held a con­fer­ence in London that ex­plored the pos­si­bil­ity of a “blood­less coup” over­throw­ing the gov­ern­ment in Doha.

The con­fer­ence was or­ga­nized by Khalid al-Hail. An­a­lysts and ex­perts have sug­gested Hail is sup­ported by the Arab coun­tries now boy­cotting Qatar, some­thing he de­nies.

“We have a cri­sis, the gov­ern­ment of Qatar has to ad­mit it,” Hail said.

“And I don’t be­lieve the cur­rent regime in Qatar is act­ing for the good of my peo­ple.”

Sep­a­rately, Qatar’s For­eign Min­istry warned its cit­i­zens against trav­el­ing to Egypt, be­cause it said the author­i­ties there had im­posed “se­cu­rity mea­sures” on Qataris en­ter­ing the coun­try. It did not pro­vide de­tails in a state­ment. – Agen­cies

Merkel said she was con­cerned that there was still no so­lu­tion to the cri­sis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lebanon

© PressReader. All rights reserved.