Qatar rejected a list of demands submitted by four Arab countries that have cut ties with it as unacceptable, saying that Doha agrees with the United States that they should push for a “rational” solution to a major [Persian] Gulf crisis.
The comments on Tuesday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s Foreign Minister, came after a meeting with his US counterpart, Rex Tillerson, in Washington, Al-Jazeera reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister said that there will be no negotiations over his country’s demand that Qatar stops supporting “terrorism” — an allegation Doha denies.
“What has been presented by the countries of the blockade are merely claims that are not proved by evidence and are not demands,” Al Thani said, adding that “negotiations require a real will by the other party and evidence to support its demands.”
He stressed that “the demands must be realistic and enforceable. Anything else is rejected … We agree with Washington that the demands should be rational.”
After more than two weeks, the Saudi-led bloc gave Qatar a 10 days to comply with 13 demands, which included shutting down the Al Jazeera Media Network, closing a Turkish military base and scaling down ties with Iran.
In the document, the countries also demanded that Qatar sever all alleged ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups, including al-Qaeda and ISIL (also known as ISIS, or Daesh).
The document also states that Qatar must consent to monthly compliance audits in the first year after agreeing to the demands, followed by quarterly audits in the second year, and annual audits in the following 10 years.
The list also includes a demand that Qatar pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses allegedly caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years.
The document did not specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.
According to a report by the state-run Qatar News Agency, Doha dismissed a list of demands submitted by four Arab countries as neither reasonable or actionable.
“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy,” Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of the Qatari government’s communications office, said in a statement.
“The US secretary of state [Rex Tillerson] recently called upon the blockading nations to produce a list of grievances that was ‘reasonable and actionable’. The British foreign secretary [Boris Johnson] asked that the demands be ‘measured and realistic.’ This list does not satisfy that criteria,” he added.
Qatar also announced that it is reviewing the demands and is preparing an official response after confirming the receipt of a document containing demands from several Arab countries that cut ties with it and imposed a blockade against it earlier this month amid a major diplomatic crisis.
“The state of Qatar is currently studying this paper, the demands contained therein and the foundations on which they were based, in order to prepare an appropriate response to it and hand it over to the state of Kuwait,” QNA underlined, citing a statement by the ministry of foreign affairs.
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar early June, and suspended air and sea communication one week after the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, accusing Doha of supporting terrorist organizations and destabilizing the situation in the Middle East.
Later, Libya, Maldives, Mauritius and Mauritania joined that list of nation to break off diplomatic relations with Doha.
Jordan and Djibouti have also announced that Amman and Djibouti decided to reduce their diplomatic status after studying reasons behind the tension between Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama with Qatar.
Qatar protested the unjustified decision of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to cut ties with the country.
“We regret the decision to sever relations,” the the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that “these measures are unjustified, they are based on assertions without foundation.”
“The State of Qatar is an active member of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the [Persian] Gulf [GCC], respects its charter, respects the sovereignty of other states and does not interfere in their internal affairs, and also fulfills its obligations to combat terrorism and extremism,” the ministry stressed.
The split among the Arab states erupted last month after US President Donald Trump visited Riyadh where he accused Iran of “destabilizing interventions” in Arab lands.