Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Riyadh Calls Doha’s Demand to Internationalize Holy Hajj ‘Declaration of War’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attend a press conference after their meeting that discussed the diplomatic situation with Qatar, in Cairo, Egypt July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Elfiqi/Pool

Bahrain – The Arab quartet boycotting Qatar announced its readiness to hold dialogue with Doha, if the latter acknowledged its compliance with the list of 13 demands, previously submitted by the Kuwaiti mediator, and stopped its support to terrorism.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt met on Sunday in Manama to coordinate stance on the latest developments in the crisis with Qatar.

“Qatar’s demands to internationalize the holy sites is aggressive and a declaration of war against the kingdom,” Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in a joint news conference following the meeting.

“We reserve the right to respond to anyone who is working on the internationalization of the holy sites,” he added.

Jubeir noted that the Kingdom was deploying great efforts to facilitate the arrival of pilgrims, adding that his country “welcomes the performance of Hajj by the Qataris, just like other pilgrims”.

Meanwhile, Bahrain denied reports on a military cooperation with Egypt to establish Egyptian military bases on its Hawar islands.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said Bahrain and Egypt had military cooperation in the field of training and exchange of expertise, adding that reports of a military base in Bahrain were unfounded.

On the crisis with Qatar, Sheikh Khalid said: “The four countries are ready for dialogue with Qatar on condition that it announces its sincere willingness to stop funding terrorism and extremism and its commitment to not interfere in other countries’ foreign affairs and to respond to the 13 demands.”

In response to a question by Asharq al-Awsat, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that the conditional dialogue with Doha would be based on its commitment to the implementation of the six principles and the 13 demands.

He also stressed that there would be no compromise over the list of demands.

For his part, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed underlined the need to abide by the international law in any measure taken towards Qatar.

“It is important that any steps taken by our countries reflect the international law,” he said during the news conference.

“These measures must be taken by mutual consensus between the four countries, and we should minimize as far as possible any repercussions on the Qatari citizens,” he added.