Qatar emir ready for Gulf crisis dialogue with conditions

Doha (AFP) –


Qatar's ruler said Friday that the Gulf emirate is ready for dialogue to resolve a diplomatic crisis with a Saudi-led bloc so long as his country's sovereignty is respected.

"We are open to dialogue to resolve the outstanding problems," so long as Qatar's "sovereignty is respected," Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said in his first public comments since Saudi Arabia and its allies severed ties with gas-rich Qatar.

"Any settlement of the crisis must be based on two principles," he said in a televised speech.

Sheikh Tamim insisted that any deal "must not take effect in the form of diktats but rather through mutual commitments undertaken by all the parties".

"We are open to dialogue to find solutions to lingering problems within the framework of respect for the sovereignty and will of each state as mutual undertakings and joints commitments binding all," he said.

State media said ahead of the speech that the emir would address "the future orientation of Qatar in light of the current Gulf crisis".

On June 5, Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their Shiite rival Iran. Doha denies the claim.

The emir said in his speech that Qatar was "fighting terrorism relentlessly and without compromises, and the international community recognises this".

The crisis between the regional allies is the worst to hit the Gulf in decades.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and its allies also imposed sanctions on Doha, including closing its only land border, refusing Qatar access to their airspace and ordering their citizens back from Qatar.

And on June 22, they went on to present the emirate with a list of 13 demands with which to comply to resolve the crisis.

Kuwait has been trying to mediate the crisis and several top Western diplomats have toured the region to try to defuse the row, including US Secretary of States Rex Tillerson.