Qatari FM: Talks Have ‘Broken Stalemate’ in Dispute with Other Arab States
Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, says talks in Riyadh have “broken the stalemate” in the 2-1/2-year dispute between his country and a number of its fellow Gulf and Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. But no concrete progress has been reported. Qatar was isolated from a number of countries in the region when they cut diplomatic relations and imposed a trade embargo over claims that Qatar supports terrorism. The boycotting nations have 13 demands for reconciliation with Qatar, including closing Al Jazeera television, closing a Turkish base, downgrading ties with Iran and cutting ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar’s foreign minister has denied that Doha has ties to the Muslim Brothers and said that his country would not “turn our back” on Ankara. Qatar also reportedly wants Saudi Arabia to restore overflight access and reopen the land border between the countries. Saudi Arabia remains publicly committed to its demands but sources claim that in private it has expressed flexibility and no longer insists on Qatar downgrading its Turkish ties or closing Al Jazeera. In another sign of thawing relations, Qatar’s prime minister attended the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Riyadh last week.