Gulf states say they will negotiate with Qatar if it stops ‘funding terrorism’

The four countries that are boycotting Qatar have said that they will negotiate with the Gulf State if it responds to a set of demands it has already called “unrealistic”.

“The four countries are ready for dialogue with Qatar with the condition that it announces its sincere willingness to stop funding terrorism and extremism and its commitment to not interfere in other countries’ foreign affairs and respond to the 13 demands,” the Bahraini foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, said according to Reuters.

He was speaking after a meeting with the Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian foreign ministers in the Bahraini capital, Manama.

Qatari men herd camels in a desert area on the Qatari side of the Abu Samrah border crossing between Saudi Arabia and Qatar on June 21, 2017. Around 12,000 camels and sheep have become the latest victims of the Gulf diplomatic crisis, being forced to trek back to Qatar from Saudi Arabia Credit:  KARIM JAAFAR

The 13 demands include shutting down the news channel al Jazeera, cutting relations with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in the country.

“These demands are not negotiable. We cannot shrink [the list] down,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said. The Qatari foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, said on 4 July that, “the list is unrealistic and is not actionable. It’s not about terrorism, it’s talking about shutting down the freedom of speech.”

The four states did not announce any new sanctions on the country, however, contradicting a report that appeared in the pan-Arab paper al-Hayat the day before that they would.

The press conference appeared to show no way forward for a bitter dispute that is now more than a month-old. The crisis erupted after the Saudis accused Qatar of funding terrorism, a charge it has consistently denied, and cut diplomatic and transportation links with the country.

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