June 27, 2017 / 6:04 PM / 3 months ago

Saudi, Qatar ministers spar over Arab nations' demands

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks during a news conference after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia, August 11, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that there would be no negotiations over demands by the kingdom and other Arab states for Qatar to stop supporting terrorism.

Doha retorted that the allegations against it and demands were baseless and unacceptable. Qatar has previously also said the demands were aimed at curbing its sovereignty.

Asked by reporters on a visit to Washington if the demands were non-negotiable, Saudi’s Jubeir said: “Yes.”

“We made our point, we took our steps and it’s up to the Qataris to amend their behaviour and once they do things will be worked out but if they don’t they will remain isolated,” Jubeir said.

If Qatar wanted to return to the Gulf Cooperation Council fold, “they know what they have to do,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a boycott on Qatar three weeks ago, accusing it of backing militants - then issued an ultimatum, including demands it shut down a Turkish military base in Doha, shutting the Al Jazeera TV channel and curbing ties with Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani at the State Department on Tuesday.

Al Jazeera quoted Al Thani as saying in response to Saudi’s Jubeir that the countries had presented “claims that are not proved by evidence and are not demands”.

“The demands must be realistic and enforceable and otherwise are unacceptable,” Al Jazeera reported him as saying.

“We agree with Washington that the demands should be reasonable.”

Tillerson has said he hopes the list of demands would be “reasonable and actionable”. On Sunday, Tillerson said that while some elements of the series of requests made by the four countries would be “very difficult for Qatar to meet”, “there are significant areas which provide a basis for ongoing dialogue leading to resolution”.

Reporting By Ahmed Tolba and Noah Browning in Dubai and Yara Bayoumy in Washington; editing by Kevin Liffey and Grant McCool

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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