Qatar vows no surrender in row with Arab states

Lucy Bush
June 9, 2017

Qatar is not ready to change its foreign policy to resolve a dispute with fellow Arab Gulf states and will never compromise, Qatar's foreign minister has told Al Jazeera.

However, Sheikh Mohammad told AP that Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani would not leave the country as long as it was subjected to an embargo.

The Foreign Minister stressed that the Turkish forces coming to Qatar are for the benefit of the security of the whole region, adding that Qatar does not expect any change in the mandate of the USA base in the country. Nevertheless, on Monday Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and several other countries severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, accusing it of sponsoring terrorist groups.

In an interview with AFP, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani described as an attempt at "collective punishment" a decision by Saudi Arabia and its allies to cut ties with Qatar over alleged financing of extremist groups.

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A top United Arab Emirates official on Wednesday told AFP that the unprecedented measures aim to pressure Doha into making drastic policy changes.

Qatar rejected the allegations as baseless and unjustified.

"As for central institutions in the United States, our relations with them are extremely excellent and it is a strategic partnership in the peace process and counter terrorism", he said.

The Gulf crisis has sparked fears of military escalation in an already volatile region. "So when the Qatari foreign minister says "listen, we need to engage in dialogue", we have done that for many years - that's just a statement for western consumption".

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"Like any crisis, you can not really control the dynamic. this is one of the dangers of any crisis. There is no intention for us to seek anything but what we look at as economic spheres of activities", he said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have suspended all flights to and from Doha and closed off sea and air links to Qatar.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia conveyed to mediators from Kuwait a list of demands to deliver to Qatar.

"40 percent of UAE power depends on the natural gas of Qatar and we will respect the LNG agreements we have signed with the UAE".

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