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Qatar Says Will Not Negotiate Until ‘Blockade’ Lifted

  • VOA News

FILE - Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani gestures during an interview in Doha, Nov. 26, 2016.

Qatar says it will not negotiate with neighboring countries unless they cease their economic and travel "blockade" of the Gulf state.

The countries have accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, a charge that Doha strongly denies.

“We have to make it very clear for everyone, negotiations must be done in a civilized way and should have a solid basis and not under pressure or under blockade,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulraham al-Thani told reporters in the capital city of Doha.

Surrounding countries Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar two weeks ago, causing the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years with no clear end in sight.

“Until now we didn’t see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the precondition for anything to move forward,” al-Thani said.

Saudi Arabia first took action on June 5, pulling its ambassador out of Qatar and forcing Qatari nationals to move back to their home country by June 19. Saudi Arabia also closed Qatar’s only land border and banned its planes from using Saudi airspace.

Al-Thani claims that anything that relates to the affairs of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council is subject to negotiation. The council is made up of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

According to al-Thani, Qatar has not received any demands from the Gulf States or any other countries.

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