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Qatar Hardens its Stance, Refuses to Respond to Gulf Demands - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Riyadh, Moscow – Qatar has chosen to harden its stance towards its Gulf neighbors, according to recent statements by its foreign minister, who stressed that his country was not ready to change its foreign policies to resolve the ongoing crisis.

Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani told a news conference in Doha on Thursday that Qatar was facing isolation due to its success and progress, adding that his country was an environment for peace and not for terrorism.

“We have been isolated because we are successful and progressive. We are a platform for peace not terrorism … This dispute is threatening the stability of the entire region,” he added.

While he noted that the current crisis would threaten security in the whole region, the foreign minister stressed that Doha would not make any compromises or relinquish its foreign policy.

“We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender, the independence of our foreign policy,” Al Thani stated.

The Qatari official said his country has not yet received the list of demands of neighboring states that decided to cut ties with it on Monday, adding however that the government was keen on resolving the crisis peacefully.

“We don’t see a military solution as an option” to the crisis, the minister noted, adding that his country would respect Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) agreements with the UAE despite the measure adopted by Abu Dhabi to cut ties with Doha.

The foreign minister revealed that Iran has expressed readiness to provide food to Qatar and would dedicate three of its ports for this purpose, but noted that the Qatari government has not yet accepted the offer.

Meanwhile, UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash called on Qatar to “change its course” and “abandon its stubbornness”.

“The request for political protection from two non-Arab countries and military protection from one of them could be a new tragic and comic chapter,” he wrote on Twitter late on Thursday.

For his part, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged Arab and Gulf states to avoid escalation of the situation in the region.

UN Secretary General Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said the UN chief was ready to support diplomatic efforts to resolve tensions between Qatar and other Gulf Arab states. He added that Guterres was following the situation with “deep concern”.

Meanwhile, Moscow announced on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not meet with the Qatari foreign minister during the latter’s upcoming visit to Russia.

Russian media agencies quoted sources as saying that the Qatari foreign minister would visit Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Saturday.

The news came in parallel with a decision by Mauritania, a GCC member state, to suspend diplomatic relations with Qatar. Chad and Senegal also said that the respective Qatari ambassadors have been summoned to discuss measures that would be taken by the two countries in support to Saudi Arabia.