Qatar is ready to discuss “legitimate issues” with Arab states to end a regional crisis, but it said a list presented by them last week contained some demands that were impossible to be met because they were not true.
The feud erupted this month when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke off ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being an ally of regional foe Iran. The four countries have sent Doha a list of 13 demands, including closing the state-funded Al Jazeera television. The deadline is expected to expire on Sunday.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Thursday that Doha was interested in negotiating legitimate issues concerning fellow Gulf states, but said some of the demands were not reasonable.
“We cannot ‘sever links with so-called IS, al-Qaeda and Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah’ because no such links exist,” he said in a statement. “And we cannot ‘expel any members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’ because there are none in Qatar.”
Sheikh Mohammed said that 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”.