Qatar FM: Saudi-Emirati demands 'were made to be rejected'

Qatar FM: Saudi-Emirati demands 'were made to be rejected'
Commenting on the draconian 13-point ultimatum issued by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their allies to his country, Qatar's foreign minister has said the demands were designed to be rejected.
3 min read
29 June, 2017
Qatar's FM leading a global diplomatic offensive to break the blockade of his country [Getty]
Qatar's foreign minister has said a recent ultimatum made by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and its allies on Doha was designed to be rejected.

Speaking to Al-Araby TV from Washington DC, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that the draconian 13-point demands issued by Saudi-led bloc to his country was designed to escalate the political crisis in the Gulf.

"The thirteen demands of the blockading countries were advanced in order to be rejected," he told the channel. 

"US officials and members of Congress realise that the crisis was premeditated and is not linked to counter-terrorism," he added.

Al-Thani said he had met with his Kuwaiti counterpart in Washington to discuss the crisis. But the Qatari FM revealed there has been no sign yet of a US initiative to bring together all the parties in the American capital to resolve the crisis, "despite the presence of the foreign ministers of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait there at present".

The minister, who is leading a diplomatic offensive on behalf of his country to break the inhumane blockade on Qatar, insisted in his remarks to al-Araby TV that Doha will not deviate from the causes it believes in.

He also cited Doha's positive role serving the Palestinian cause and the unification of the Palestinian ranks.
We cannot 'sever links with so-called Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Lebanese Shia militant group Hizballah' because no such links exist
-Qatari FM
Impossible demands

Thani also expressed his country's dismay that the "ambassador of an Arab country" in Washington is leading efforts to smear Qatar.

He said that instead the figure should be serving his country and promoting the interests of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in a tacit reference to Emirati ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba, who has played a key role in the crisis.

In an earlier statement, the Qatari FM said his country is ready to discuss "legitimate issues" with Arab states to end a regional crisis, but stressed the list presented by them last week contained demands that were impossible to be met because they were untrue.

"We cannot 'sever links with so-called Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Lebanese Shia militant group Hizballah' because no such links exist," he said in a statement. "And we cannot 'expel any members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard' because there are none in Qatar."

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt broke off ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being an ally of regional foe Iran. Severing diplomatic and travel links set off one of the worst rifts in years between the US allies.

The four countries have sent Doha a list of 13 demands, including closing the state-funded Al-Jazeera television and reducing ties to Iran, an official of one of the four countries said, and gave Doha ten days to comply.

The deadline is expected to expire on Sunday.

Thani said that since it was impossible for Doha to stop doing what it has never done before.

"We are left to conclude that the purpose of the ultimatum was not to address the issues listed, but to pressure Qatar to surrender its sovereignty. This is something we will not do," he said.

NATO ally Turkey has backed Doha in the rift with four Arab states.

Qatar's defence minister is due to visit Ankara on Friday and will hold talks with his Ankara counterpart, sources at Turkey's defence ministry said on Thursday, according to a Reuters report.

Kuwait, which retained ties with Qatar, is trying to mediate in the dispute with the support of Washington.