Qatar says Saudi-led bloc unwilling to negotiate on blockade

Qatar says Saudi-led bloc unwilling to negotiate on blockade
Doha continues to bolster ties with its allies as an anti-Qatar bloc of Arab states shows no sign of ending their siege on the Gulf state.
2 min read
31 August, 2017

Arab states enforcing a blockade of Qatar have shown no signs of being open to negotations, Qatar's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani made the comments at a press conference that followed a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who is in the Gulf attempting to patch up the regional diplomatic crisis.

"Qatar maintains its position that this crisis can only be achieved through a constructive dialogue... but the blockading countries are not responding to any efforts being conducted by Kuwait or other friendly countries," Thani told reporters in Doha.

At present, Kuwait and the US are attempting to heal the rift between Qatar one one side and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt on the other. The four Arab states accuse Doha of funding terrorism and have imposed punishing economic sanctions and a blockade on the Gulf state since June.

In a recent interview with The Atlantic, the UAE's US ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba, said his country would not engage in dialogue with Qatar without pre-conditions for talks.

With no sign of its neighbours budging on their stance, Qatar has looked to strengthen ties with other nations amid the ongoing Gulf crisis.

In meeting with Lavrov, Sheikh Mohammed said on Wednesday that Qatar plans to boost trade with Russia, saying that Doha could no longer rely on its neighbours to guarantee food security.

The meeting, which was part of a mediation tour in which Lavrov also visited the UAE, came days after Iran formally restored full diplomatic ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch rival in the Middle East.