Skip to main content

Saudi Arabia says Qatar demands are non-negotiable

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani on Tuesday to discuss the crisis
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said if Qatar wants to return to the GCC fold, "they know what they have to do" (AA)

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".

Asked by reporters on a visit to Washington if the demands were non-negotiable, 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 to shut down a Turkish military base in Doha, close the Al Jazeera TV channel and curb ties with Iran.

Qatar denies the allegations against it and says the demands are aimed at curbing its sovereignty.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani at the US state department on Tuesday to discuss the Gulf crisis.

Al Jazeera quoted al-Thani as saying in response to 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," he said. "We agree with Washington that the demands should be reasonable."

Tillerson was to meet later with Kuwait Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah al-Sabah. Kuwait has taken on the official role of mediator in the spat. 

State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said talks would continue through the week, but added the Saudi demands remained "challenging" for Qatar. 

"Some of them will be difficult for Qatar to incorporate and to try to adhere to," she said. "We continue to call on those countries to work together and work this out."

The Gulf crisis placed Washington uncomfortably in the middle, with its close economic and security ties with both sides. Despite the State Department's calls to end the crisis, President Donald Trump has voiced full support for Saudi Arabia in its measures against Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism "at a very high level". 

Qatar is home to the largest US base in the region, al-Udeid. Bahrain is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet. The US and Saudi militaries work closely together as well.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.