19 November 2019
Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani speaks to reporters in Doha on Thursday. Photo: Reuters
Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani speaks to reporters in Doha on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Qatar vows no surrender in Gulf crisis

Qatar vowed on Thursday to ride out the isolation imposed on it by fellow Arab states and said it will not compromise its sovereignty over foreign policy, Reuters reports.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed relations with Qatar on Monday, accusing the small Gulf Arab state of supporting Islamist militants and arch adversary Iran. Several other countries later followed suit.

Qatar has refuted the charges as baseless.

Would-be mediators including US President Donald Trump and Kuwait’s ruling emir have struggled to ease a crisis that Qataris say has led to a blockade of their nation.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Qatar had not yet been presented with a list of demands by countries that cut off diplomatic and transport ties.

He insisted that the matter should be solved peacefully.

“We have been isolated because we are successful and progressive. We are a platform for peace,” he told reporters in Doha.

“We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender, the independence of our foreign policy,” he said, warning that the dispute threatened the stability of the region.

Saudi Arabia’s closure of Qatar’s only land border sparked fears of major price hikes and food shortages for its population of 2.7 million people, with long queues forming as some supermarkets began running out of stock.

“We’re not worried about a food shortage, we’re fine. We can live forever like this, we are well prepared,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

He said Iran was ready to help with securing food supplies in the emirate, an investment powerhouse and supplier of natural gas to world markets but tiny and reliant on imports.

Turkey has meanwhile brought forward a planned troop deployment to Qatar and pledged to provide food and water supplies to its Arab ally, which hosts a Turkish military base.

Trump initially took sides with the Saudi-led group before apparently being nudged into a more even-handed approach when US defense officials renewed praise of Doha, mindful of the fact that Qatar hosts a major American military base.

In his second intervention in as many days, Trump urged action against terrorism in a call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Wednesday and offered help in resolving the crisis, including through a meeting at the White House.

But a Qatari official said on Thursday the emir would not be accepting the invitation.

“The emir has no plans to leave Qatar while the country is under a blockade,” the official told Reuters.

The White House said Trump is continuing to talk with all partners.

– Contact us at [email protected]