TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - On Wednesday, Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of Qatar’s government communications office, told The Associated Press that the four Arab countries have “regularly issued conflicting statements” since the outbreak of the diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf region last month.
The quartet comprising Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties and cut all land, sea, and air routes with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism -- allegations denied by Doha.
They later issued a list of 13 sweeping demands for Doha to meet in order for the relations to be normalized. Based on the list, Doha was asked to end its support for Egypt’s biggest banned opposition party Muslim Brotherhood, shut down Al Jazeera, close down a Turkish military base on its soil, limit its ties with Iran and “compensate” the sanctioning countries for unspecified harm.
Qatar dismissed the steep demands as an infringement of its sovereignty, Presstv reported.
The Qatari official’s comments came hours after the quartet urged Doha to accept what they called six core “principles” already mentioned in the 13-point list. The bloc said Doha should commit to the principles on fighting terrorism and negotiate a plan to implement them.
“These latest comments are another example of the dangerous and disorganized manner in which the illegal blockade has been conducted,” said Sheikh Saif.
“At first there were no demands, but following pressure from mediating countries, the blockaders leaked a list of demands that was quickly deemed neither reasonable nor actionable,” he added.
‘Saudis must drop all demands’
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, whose country has sided with Qatar in the diplomatic row, called on Saudi Arabia to drop all the demands from Doha in an interview with Al Jazeera on Wednesday.
The interview came ahead of a visit next week by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Saudi Arabia. He will later travel to Kuwait and Qatar amid his efforts to end the dispute.
“The president will listen to the parties but the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must give up the plan, which includes 13 demands and must reconsider it,” Kurtulmus said. “As for Qatar, it must take a positive stand that will open the way to stages of negotiations and Turkey can be a mediator.”
Kurtulmus further said Turkey had no plans to close down its military base in Qatar, adding that Ankara and Doha were planning to carry out military drills in coming days with the possibility of US forces to join in the maneuvers.
He also issued an implicit warning to the UAE and said Abu Dhabi “must show a stand that is in favor of peace and a settlement and this is in its interest too, otherwise every conflict breeds conflict and no one knows the outcome.”