Qatar open for dialogue with Saudi Arabia even though channels suspended: Foreign Minister

DOHA: Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani says his country will always remain open to dialog and engagement even though negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar to resolve a bitter regional conflict were suspended in January without tangible progress.

“We will remain hopeful. There were some opening previously in the last couple of months for a dialogue between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Unfortunately, it didn’t result and the channels were suspended. But, Qatar has been always very clear that we are open for dialogue. We are open for engagement as long as it (Saudi Arabia) respects the international law and the sovereignty of each country,” Al Thani said in an exclusive interview with CNN television news network.

The top Qatari diplomat highlighted that Doha wants the best for all of its neighbors in the region.

“We want to be forward-looking, and to (be) looking for a more prosperous future and stability in that region. This cannot happen with a zero-sum game approach. It can only happen by compromising by all the parties and reaching for a settlement that all of us become owner,” he pointed out.

Al Thani highlighted that his country has neither sought to undermine nor to humiliate any country, calling on the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to be more forward-looking in order to safeguard the regional intergovernmental political and economic union from any future conflict.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, after officially accusing it of “sponsoring terrorism.”

Libya, the Maldives, Djibouti, Senegal and the Comoros later joined the camp in ending diplomatic ties with Doha. Jordan downgraded its diplomatic relations as well.

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry later announced that the decision to cut diplomatic ties was unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions.

On June 9, 2017, Qatar strongly dismissed allegations of supporting terrorism after the Saudi regime and its allies blacklisted dozens of individuals and entities purportedly associated with Doha.

Later that month, Saudi Arabia and its allies released a 13-point list of demands, including the closure of al-Jazeera television network and downgrade of relations with Iran, in return for the normalization of diplomatic relations with Doha.

The document also asked Qatar to sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement.

Qatar rejected the demands as “unreasonable.”

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