Qatar’s rejection of Arab states’ ultimatum & denial of terrorism financing ‘shockingly naive’ – UAE

“The State of Qatar’s position on terrorism is consistent and known for its rejection and condemnation of all forms of terrorism whatever the causes and motives are,” the country Foreign Ministry said in a statement attributed to a senior Foreign Ministry source. 

“Claims about the State of Qatar’s interference in internal affairs of countries and financing terrorism are baseless allegations,” the source stressed, adding, that Doha actively supports anti-terrorist efforts in the region which the “international community attests to.”

The Foreign Ministry’s strong-worded communication added that joint statements by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain after Qatar’s refusal to honor the list of 13 demands are regrettable and “amount to defamation in contradiction with the established foundations of international relations.”

Doha also expressed its readiness to “cooperate and review all claims that do not contradict the sovereignty of the State of Qatar.”

On Thursday, the four states engaged in the major diplomatic confrontation with Qatar, promised to impose additional “political, economic and legal measures” on Doha for its alleged support of terrorism. The announcement came a day after Qatar rejected the ultimatum which, among other demands, included severing ties with Iran, stopping aid for the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups, and shutting down its Al Jazeera global TV network.

READ MORE: Pentagon reaffirms ‘strategic security partnership’ & mutual interests with ‘terrorist funder’ Qatar

In a series of Arabic tweets late Friday, Anwar Mohammad Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said the four Arab nations were “shocked” that Doha refused to bow to their demands.

READ MORE: Qatar ‘open’ to German intel in effort to clear up Arab states’ accusations

“Those who followed Qatar’s response to the demands were shocked by Qatar’s denials and how it dealt carelessly with genuine concerns over the evils that have undermined security and stability and led to a real crisis,” the Minister said on Twitter, adding, that Doha’s arguments were “weak” and “shockingly naive.”

“No diplomatic efforts will succeed if Doha does not act reasonably… hiding behind the words of sovereignty and denial will only extend the Qatar crisis,” the minister said as quoted by Gulf News.

Despite threats from the Arab quartet, petroleum and gas-rich Qatar remains defiant and confident that it can survive the isolation, especially after receiving assurances of support from Turkey and Iran.

“We have sovereign wealth funds of 250 percent of gross domestic product, we have Qatar Central Bank reserves, and we have a ministry of finance strategic reserve,” the country’s finance minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi told The Times, after his country rejected the list of demands.

“We are the fastest-growing country in the region, 40 per cent faster than the nearest Persian Gulf Co-operation Council country [the UAE],” al-Emadi said. “Bahrain and Egypt, they are at junk bond level… If you look at Saudi Arabia, they are having genuine issues with their finances.”

The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke out against the sanctions on Doha Saturday, urging the Arab countries to apply “all diplomatic tools to resolve the Qatar crisis.”

“As I mentioned before, there won’t be any winners in the brothers’ fight,” Erdogan said in Hamburg, Germany at the end of the G20 summit.

With no imminent resolution to the diplomatic and economic standoff, the US and the UK are rushing to the region to help solve the crisis.

UK’s Foreign Secretary is already in the Persian Gulf where he met with the Saudis Friday. Boris Johnson is already in Kuwait – currently serving as mediators – and will soon travel to Doha to aid the mediation efforts.

“The Foreign Secretary is urging all parties to get behind Kuwait’s mediation efforts and work towards de-escalation and Gulf unity for the sake of regional stability,” the UK Foreign office said in a statement.

Next week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also expected to travel to Kuwait to further push for a resolution to the rapidly escalating crisis.

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