International

Qatar rejects Arab demands

ROME: Qatar will reject a series of demands made by several other Arab states, its foreign minister said on Saturday, adding that their ultimatum was aimed not at tackling terrorism but at curtailing his country’s sovereignty.

But Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, speaking to reporters in Rome, said Doha was still ready to sit down and discuss the grievances raised by its Arab neighbours.

“This list of demands is to be rejected, not to be accepted. We are willing to engage in dialogue but under proper conditions,” he said, adding that Qatar would not close down a Turkish military base in his country or shut the Doha-based satellite channel Al Jazeera as demanded by the Arab countries.

The feud erupted this month when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and travel links with Qatar, accusing it also of courting regional foe Iran. Qatar denies the allegations.

The four countries have sent Doha a list of 13 demands, including closing the state-funded Al Jazeera television station and reducing ties to Iran, an official of one of the four countries said. They gave Doha 10 days to comply.

The deadline is expected to expire on Sunday. Kuwait, which retained ties with Qatar, is trying to mediate in the dispute with the support of Washington.

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