FM: Demands unacceptable

 28 Jun 2017 - 8:26

FM: Demands unacceptable
Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the US State Department in Washington DC, yesterday.

Agencies

Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said yesterday that demands by Arab states that his country stop aiding terrorism were baseless and unacceptable, Al Jazeera television reported.

“What has been presented by the countries of the blockade are merely claims that are not proved by evidence and are not demands,” Sheikh Mohammed was quoted as saying.

“The demands must be realistic and enforceable and otherwise are unacceptable.”

The Foreign Minister met US Secretary of State Rex Tillersoni in Washington, yesterday. Tillerson is also meeting with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah and Kuwait’s Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs. He will then hold joint meeting with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the Kuwaiti Minister to discuss the current GCC crisis, reported Al Jazeera.

State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said talks would continue through the week, but added the Saudi demands remained "challenging" for Qatar. 

"Some of them will be difficult for Qatar to incorporate and to try to adhere to," she said.

"We continue to call on those countries to work together and work this out."

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir, who was also in Washington, was unbudging amid attempts by US and Kuwaiti diplomats to mediate the row.

Riyadh has laid down a list of 13 demands for Qatar, included the closure of Al Jazeera, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel yesterday appealed to all sides in the Qatar crisis to hold direct talks to avoid a further escalation, and warned that continued tensions between Qatar and its neighbors would further deepen fault lines in the region. "The longer the crisis around Qatar continues, the deeper and stronger the lines of conflict will become," said Babriel, adding that "We hope that there soon can be direct discussion among all those involved because a further escalation will serve no one."

Gabriel told reporters at a joint news conference in Berlin following a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, that he viewed the Arab list as the "starting point of negotiations, not the end" when asked about a 13-point list issued by Arab states. 

Gabriel argued that this could be discussed at the negotiation table.  "My interpretation... this is the starting point of negotiations, that is not the end. And so…necessary is to come to the table and then negotiate. Then we will see what kind of result is reachable,"

For his part Zarif supported Gabriel's appeal for direct talks between Qatar and the Arab states calling for a political solution to the crisis."Our region cannot tolerate any further escalation," he said criticising the blockade imposed on Qatar by the Saudi Arabia-led bloc. 

Iranian Foreign Minister pointed out that "Problems, issues, differences cannot be resolved through imposition of pressure and sanctions and blockades".  Zarif said Iran was interested in working towards a political solution to the conflict with Qatar arguing that "pressure and sanctions and blockades" were not the answer.