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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Arab Quartet says Qatar must accept its demands 

Show of unity as they insist that Doha meets demands before dialogue

Dr Anwar Gargash in New York. WAM
Dr Anwar Gargash in New York. WAM

The four Arab countries imposing sanctions on Qatar held a ministerial-level consultation meeting in New York yesterday on the sidelines of the UN general assembly.

The move was intended to show unity and voice readiness for a political solution to the dispute, as soon as Qatar committed to implementing the demands put forward by the group.

The meeting took place at Egypt’s UN mission in Manhattan on the eve of US president Donald Trump meeting with the Qatari Emir.

Arriving first was the UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, shortly followed by his Saudi counterpart Adel Al Jubeir. The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, the Bahraini foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry and UAE’s Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, were also in attendance.

Talks lasted for over 90 minutes, and Sheikh Abdullah was the first to depart, without speaking to reporters. Mr Gargash signaled a 'thumbs up', and told The National on his way out that the meeting “was excellent”.

The Egyptians, briefing reporters after the meeting, described it as “fruitful and very positive”. Mr Shoukry said they convened to “show solidarity in our position, and [to show] our continued readiness to for a political solution to resolve this crisis as long as Qatar commits to implement the 13 demands and six principles.”

A senior Arab diplomat told The National that a Qatari commitment to implementing the demands “could open the door for dialogue” to begin to resolve the 105 day-long crisis. US President Donald Trump has called for dialogue and will be meeting the Emir of Qatar today on the margins of UN General Assembly meeting.

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When asked about reports that Qatar is ready to respond to the demands from the four states, Egypt’s foreign minister said: “That’s what we look forward to if it’s true, that’s an important development and that’s what we the four states have asked for at all stages of this crisis.”

“We are seeking for the relations [with Qatar] to be normal, that Qatar would stop supporting and funding terrorism, as well as destabilising and interfering in the internal affairs of four states, if that happens, this is what we are asking for,” he said.

Mr Shoukry emphasised unanimity among the quartet members and the commitment to their positions.

The “four states recommit to their national security and to that the of the Arab region", he said.

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