TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
They presented Qatar with a list of 13 wide-ranging demands and gave it 10 days to comply with them or face unspecified consequences.
The demands include closing the broadcaster Al Jazeera, removing Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, scaling back cooperation with Iran, expelling members of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and ending ties with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Thursday that his country was ready to discuss "legitimate issues" with the Saudi-led alliance, but some of the demands were not reasonable.
"We cannot 'sever links with so-called IS (Daesh), al-Qaeda and … Hezbollah' because no such links exist," he said in a statement.
Doha, he added, cannot expel IRGC members “because there are none in Qatar."
Since it was impossible for Doha to stop doing things it had never been doing, "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," the top Qatari diplomat further emphasized.
'Qatari rights group suing Saudi Arabia'
Separately on Thursday, informed sources said Qatar's National Human Rights Commission (QNHRC) was hiring Lalive, a Swiss law firm, to help seek compensation for citizens affected by Saudi sanctions.
They also noted that the firm was finalizing an agreement with the QNHRC over the issue and that the deal will be announced on Saturday.
"The plan is to help Qataris pursue legal action against Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which cut ties with Qatar this month," said one of the sources.
The development came one day after QNHRC Chairman Ali al-Marrisaid said his organization would pursue compensation claims in courts in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain as well as in Europe, Presstv reported.
Qatar should decide: Egypt
In another development on Thursday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry said the ball was in the Qatari court, adding that it was time for Doha to decide.
"Qatar must choose clearly and without any ambiguity, whether to be a party that protects and safeguards the Arab national security, as well as maintains the stability and capabilities of the Arab countries, or to continue its failed attempt to destabilize the region, undermine the Arab national security in favor of external powers or rogue groups," Middle East News Agency quoted Shoukry as saying.
Qatari defense minister travels to Turkey
Turkish media reported that Qatari Defense Minister Hamad bin Ali Al Attiyah will visit Turkey on Friday.
Attiyah will meet with his Turkish counterpart, Fikri Isik, at the Turkish Defense Ministry in Ankara, according to the reports.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the Saudi demands from Qatar "against international law" and said that asking for the withdrawal of Turkish forces from the Persian Gulf country was a "disrespect to Turkey."
“We don’t need permission from anyone to establish military bases among partners. We endorse and appreciate Qatar’s stance towards the 13 demands. It’s a very, very ugly approach to try to interfere with our agreement," he said.
Turkey is an ally of Qatar and has provided the Persian Gulf state with food and other aid over the past few days.
On Wednesday, Emirati Ambassador to Russia Omar Ghobash warned that the Saudi-led bloc was mulling even more economic pressure on Qatar, including reducing ties with their own trade partners that choose to continue working with Doha.