Posts Tagged ‘Sheikh Mohammed’

Gulf deadline to resolve Qatar rift approaches

July 2, 2017
Reuters

Buildings are seen on a coast line in Doha, Qatar June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer
By Sylvia Westall | DUBAI

Qatar faces possible further sanctions by Arab states that have severed ties with Doha over allegations of links to terrorism, as a deadline to accept a series of demands is expected to expire on Sunday night with no signs of the crisis ending.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the demands were made to be rejected, adding that the Arab ultimatum was aimed not at tackling terrorism but at curtailing his country’s sovereignty.

But he told reporters in Rome that Doha remained ready to sit down and discuss the grievances raised by its Arab neighbors.

“This list of demands is made to be rejected. It’s not meant to be accepted or …to be negotiated,” Sheikh Mohammed said in Rome. “The state of Qatar instead of rejecting it as a principle, we are willing to engage in (dialogue), providing the proper conditions for further dialogue.”

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani attends a news conference in Rome, Italy, July 1, 2017.REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

He added that no one had the right to issue an ultimatum to a sovereign country.

The feud erupted last month when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being an ally of regional foe Iran, charges which Doha denies.

The countries have threatened further sanctions against Qatar if it does not comply with their list of 13 demands which were presented to Doha by Kuwaiti mediators 10 days ago.

The demands include closing a Turkish military base in Qatar and shutting down the Al Jazeera pan-Arab television network, which Doha also rejected.

Qatar’s Gulf critics accuse Al Jazeera of being a platform for extremists and an agent of interference in their affairs. The network has rejected the accusations and said it will maintain its editorial independence.

FRESH PENALTIES

Gulf countries have insisted the demands were not negotiable.

The UAE ambassador to Russia has said Qatar could face fresh sanctions if it does not comply with the demands.

Gulf states could ask their trading partners to choose between working with them or with Doha, he said in a newspaper interview last week.

But UAE foreign affairs minister Anwar Gargash played down the chances of an escalation, saying “The alternative is not escalation but parting ways”, suggesting Qatar may be forced out of the six-member alliance.

The Western-backed body was formed in 1981 in the wake of Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

Speaking in Washington last week, the Qatari foreign minister said the GCC was set up to guard against external threats.

“When the threat is coming from inside the GCC, there is a suspicion about the sustainability of the organization,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters.

The crisis has hit travel, food imports and ratcheted up tensions in the Gulf and sown confusion among businesses, while pushing Qatar closer to Iran and Turkey.

But it has not hit energy exports from Qatar, which is the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and home to the region’s biggest U.S. military base.

Image result for LNG, Qatar, photos

The rift opened days after U.S. President Donald Trump met with Arab leaders in Riyadh and called for unity against regional threats such as Iran and hardline Islamist militant groups.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall and Philip Pullella; editing by Sami Aboudi and Stephen Powell)

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Qatar Says Won’t Negotiate Until Economic Boycott Ends

June 19, 2017

DOHA — Qatar will not negotiate with Arab states that have cut economic and travel ties with it unless they reverse their measures, its foreign minister said, ruling out discussions over Qatar’s internal affairs including Al Jazeera TV.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Qatar had still not received any demands from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which severed relations two weeks ago, triggering the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years.

Image result for Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, photos

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahmanal-Thani

The countries accuse Qatar of supporting Islamist militants and stirring up unrest, charges Doha denies.

“Qatar is under blockade, there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade to start negotiations,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters in Doha. “Until now we didn’t see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the precondition for anything to move forward.”

He said Kuwait’s ruler was the sole mediator in the crisis and that he was waiting for specific demands from Gulf states in order to take resolution efforts forward.

“We cannot just have (vague) demands such as ‘the Qataris know what we want from them, they have to stop this or that, they have to be monitored by a foreign monitoring mechanism,'” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Anything that relates to the affairs of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council is subject to negotiation, he said, referring to the body comprising Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

“Anything not related to them is not subject to negotiation. No one has the right to interfere in my affairs. Al Jazeera is Qatar’s affairs, Qatari foreign policy on regional issues is Qatar’s affairs. And we are not going to negotiate on our own affairs,” he said.

Qatar’s Gulf critics have accused Al Jazeera of being a platform for extremists and an agent of interference in their affairs. The network has rejected those accusations and said it will maintain its editorial independence.

Image result for LNG, Qatar, photos

The crisis has hit civilian travel, some food imports, ratcheted up tensions in the Gulf and sown confusion among businesses. But it has not affected energy exports from Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar would rely on other states if the boycott continued, including Saudi Arabia’s arch regional foe Iran.

“We have a back-up plan which depends mainly on Turkey, Kuwait and Oman,” he said. “Iran has facilitated for us the sky passages for our aviation and we are cooperating with all countries that can ensure supplies for Qatar.”

(Reporting by Tom Finn; writing by Sylvia Westall; editing by Mark Heinrich)