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Qatar Says NO to Arab List of Demands, Announces Readiness for Dialogue

Qatar said Saturday a series of demands made by several Arab states to lift a crippling blockade were created to be spurned and clearly aimed at infringing its sovereignty.However Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, speaking to reporters in Rome, added Doha was still ready to sit down and discuss the grievances raised by its Arab neighbors.”This list of demands is to be rejected, not to be accepted”.The minister particularly said that Qatar would not close down a Turkish military base or shut the Doha-based satellite channel Al Jazeera as demanded by the Arab countries.The minister’s comments came after intensive efforts from Kuwait to mediate in the dispute and ahead of a deadline on Monday for Qatar to respond to the demands, which were presented to Doha last week.But Sheikh Mohammed was adamant. The four countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region, allegations denied by Doha.Earlier Saturday, the leaders of Qatar spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who urged the country along with Bahrain to pursue a diplomatic solution, Reuters reported.In the meantime, Qatar received assurances of “unconditional support” from the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who denounced the Gulf States’ demands as running “contrary to global law”.The meeting was attended by all 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council except for Egypt.Mishaal Al Gergawi, managing director of the Delma Institute think tank in Abu Dhabi, said Qatar’s rejection of the demands is likely to cause a diplomatic escalation but not complete severance from the GCC.”Everyone is aware that these demands are meant to infringe the sovereignty of the state of Qatar, shut the freedom of speech and impose auditing and probation mechanism for Qatar”, he said. “It is keen to respect global law, participates effectively in efforts to address common worldwide challenges, and uses it resources to achieve peaceful solutions to worldwide crises and conflicts”.Qatar feels cornered, Mr Al Gergawi said.U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, discussed ways to resolve the dispute in a telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the White House said.”Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt in addition to a large number of Arab and Muslim nations would take some crucial measures (that) may be in the form of a new sanctions package that will be put against the Qatari government”, said Al-Ansari, who is also a political analyst and writer.