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Doha Chooses ‘Rejection’ as Deadline Ends Today | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani attends a news conference in Rome on Saturday/Reuters

Dammam, Roma, Ankara- Qatar chose to escalate by rejecting to comply with demands presented by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on the eve of an ultimatum that expires Sunday night.

The four Arab states imposed sanctions on Doha, which is accused of supporting terrorism, and has been given 10 days to comply with a list of 13 demands or face unspecified consequences.

Speaking to reporters in Rome, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said: “This list of demands will be rejected. It will not be accepted. We are willing to engage in further dialogue given the proper conditions.”

The Qatari foreign minister also mentioned holding meetings with UN Security Council members concerning the crisis, in a hidden sign about Doha’s efforts to internationalize the Gulf row.

The four Arab states demand Qatar to cut ties with terrorist groups, close down Al Jazeera satellite channel, downgrade ties with Iran and close a Turkish air base in Qatar.

Meanwhile, the four states that cut ties with Qatar alluded to uncover more evidences that prove Doha’s involvement in financing terrorism and encouraging violence in the region.

In an interview with The Times UK, UAE Ambassador to Russia Omar Ghobash said the Gulf States have plenty of evidence regarding Qatar’s involvement in supporting terrorism and that countries such as Britain should choose either to deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council or with Qatar.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin entered on Saturday on the line of the dispute by making two separate phone calls, one with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and the second to Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

The Kremlin said Putin stressed during the two phone calls on the need for diplomacy to end the dispute between Qatar and several other Arab states.

Also on Saturday, and following a three-day visit to Germany, Saudi Information Minister Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad said the decision of Saudi Arabia and other countries to cut ties with Qatar attained substantial understanding from the German officials following the presentation of information proving Qatar’s involvement in funding terrorism and extremism, support and sponsorship of its prominent figures and the use of Al-Jazeera as a media platform that promotes violence and terrorists, the Saudi News Agency reported Saturday.