January 19, 2018

Turkey rejects Arab terms to Qatar, US urges sides to talk

26 June 2017, 08:30 | Marion Schneider

Crime scene Richard Williams

Crime scene Richard Williams

The GCC, or Gulf Cooperation Council, includes Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait as well as Qatar.

A boycott initiated by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain was initiated on 5th June, cutting off air and sea links Qatar. They accuse Qatar of backing terrorism, the BBC added.

Turkey also sent large shipments of food and dispatched a small contingent of troops with armored vehicles to support Qatar amid the political row, but toned down its rhetoric and urged the Arab nations to mend their relations after the Gulf capitals expressed deep concern over the deployment.

In particular, the Gulf States demand from Qatar to reduce ties with Iran, halt military cooperation with Turkey and shut the Al Jazeera state broadcaster.

Tillerson said that "a productive next step would be for each of the countries to sit together and continue this conversation".

He urged the sides to continue negotiations by saying that it would be a "productive step", adding that the USA believes its allies are "stronger when they are working together". "This approach of 13 demands is against worldwide law because you can't attack or intervene in the sovereignty of a country", Erdogan said in Istanbul, in his strongest statement of support yet for Qatar in this three- week-old crisis. - Reuters picTillerson had called on the bloc to spell out exactly what Qatar must do to end the diplomatic and economic isolation imposed almost three weeks ago.

Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, have issued 13 demands that they want Qatar to meet in return for an end to the almost three-week-old diplomatic and trade "blockade".

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"It is about limiting Qatar's sovereignty and outsourcing our foreign policy", said Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al-Thani, a government spokesman.

Addressing Turkey's involvement in Qatar, which stemmed from a bilateral defence agreement made in 2014 and ratified recently, Dr Gargash said: "The Turks left Qatar over a century ago and now have returned". "This approach of 13 demands is against global law because you can not attack or intervene in the sovereignty of a country".

"The four states can afford to wait, but Qatar cannot", said Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East expert at the London School of Economics.

Al Jazeera said any call to close down the network is an attempt to silence freedom of expression in the region.

Qatar has said it will not comply with the demands, and Erdogan's endorsement appeared to entrench Doha's position - setting the scene for a showdown on July 3rd.

Qatar-flagged and -owned vessels remain banned from ports in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and Qatar's airline is banned from routing flights through Saudi airspace.

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