A deadline was approaching Sunday for Qatar to accept a series of demands made by several Arab states to lift a de facto blockade, with no indications Doha was ready to comply.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the 13 demands from Saudi Arabia and several of its allies were designed to be spurned. “The list of demands is made to be rejected,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Qatar defiant as deadline nears to resolve Gulf rift
“Everyone is aware that these demands are meant to infringe the sovereignty of the state of Qatar,” he said at a news conference in Rome after meeting his Italian counterpart.
“The state of Qatar… is rejecting it as a principle,” he said, adding: “We are willing to engage in providing the proper conditions for further dialogue.”
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt announced on June 5 they were severing ties with their Gulf neighbor, sparking the worst diplomatic crisis to hit the region in decades.
They blamed Doha for supporting extremism and of being too close to regional arch-rival Iran, however, Qatar has strongly denied it.
The countries have threatened further sanctions against Qatar if it does not comply with their list of 13 demands presented to Doha by Kuwaiti mediators 10 days ago.
The demands include a Turkish military base in Qatar and shutting the Al Jazeera Pan-Arab television network, which Doha also rejected.
Riyadh and its supporters have already severed air, sea and ground links with Qatar, cutting off vital routes for imports including food. Qatari citizens were ordered to leave the countries and various steps were taken against Qatari companies and financial institutions.
It is unclear what further measures will be taken if Qatar fails to meet the demands, but the UAE ambassador to Russia Omar Ghobash warned last week that further sanctions could be imposed.