Qatari FM: Measures expected by Arab states must be in line with intl law

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

:: Qatari Foreign Minister Sheik Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Wednesday that the expected punitive measures by Arab powers must be in line with the international law, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

He said there is a need to be a dialogue with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt despite “sanctions” imposed by these states, who accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism.

“Qatar continues to call for dialogue,” the minister told the Chatham House think tank in London, as the Arab states held talks in Egypt to discuss their next move.

The minister also said there needs to be a healthy relationship with Iran.

Before his statements, state-backed Gulf media said on Wednesday that Qatar faces further isolation and possible expulsion from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) if its response to a list of demands made nearly two weeks ago is not satisfactory.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab emirates, Egypt and Bahrain are meeting on Wednesday in Cairo to discuss Qatar’s reply to 13 demands they sent to Qatar in return for the lifting sanctions imposed last month.

Qatar’s Sheik Mohammed at a joint news conference with his German counterpart on Tuesday insisted that Doha would not compromise.

Gulf officials have said the demands are not negotiable, signaling more sanctions are possible, including “parting ways” with Doha – a suggestion it may be ejected from the GCC, a regional economic and security cooperation body founded in 1981.

“Qatar is walking alone in its dreams and illusions, far away from its Gulf Arab brothers, after it sold every brother and friend and bought the treacherous and the one far away at the highest price,” the editor of the Abu Dhabi government linked al-Ittihad newspaper wrote in an editorial.

“A Gulf national may be obliged to prepare psychologically for his Gulf to be without Qatar,” he added.

Some newspapers said remarks by Sheikh Mohammed that Doha would not change its policies.

“We do not understand the Qatari intransigence which is built on the principle of sovereignty that had been repeated in every reaction issued by Doha,” the Arabic-language al-Riyadh newspaper, which reflects Saudi government thinking, wrote in an editorial.

“The Gulf requirements did not impact on the Qatari sovereignty at all, but only asked that Qatar stop interference in their internal affairs,” it added.

The Dubai-based al-Bayan said in an editorial that all indications suggested that Qatar had “decided to chose the enmity of its surroundings, belittled joint Gulf action and the Arab block”.

“Doha chose to enter into a dark tunnel and the four Arab countries that had extended the deadline acted positively, despite its prior knowledge that it faces a country that harbors evil to its neighbors”.

“We are today at a new situation after the Qatari rejection, and it is a rejection that will not pass without a price, and Qatar alone bears responsibility for this reaction.”

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