x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 October 2017

Qatar Emir: We are ready to talk

After an eight week boycott of the country, Qatar will enter discussions with the Quartet

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has spoken publicly for the first time since the Qatar blockade (EPA)
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has spoken publicly for the first time since the Qatar blockade (EPA)

Qatar's ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has called for negotiations to resolve differences between Doha and the four Arab states which have severed diplomatic ties with it.

The conciliatory step comes nearly eight weeks into a boycott of Qatar by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt over its support for terrorism and extremism.

"The time has come for us to spare the people from the political differences between the governments," the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said in a televised speech, his first public remarks since the Qatar crisis began.

He added that Qatar is not afraid of identifying and correcting “our error”.

He accused the Arab quartet of violating international law by trying to isolate his country, but acknowledged the crisis has also helped the emirate to identify shortcomings.

Sheikh Tamim also said Qatar is willing to take part in a dialogue to find solutions to the disputes, but within the framework that respects the sovereignty and will of each state. He said he hoped the Kuwait mediation efforts would succeed.

The statement follows his decree which establishes two national lists for individuals and terrorist entities and sets out the requirements for being included on them. The changes to Qatar’s anti-terror legislation has been called "a step in the right direction" by the UAE.

"The Qatari decision to revise their law regarding the financing of terrorism is a step in the right direction towards addressing the terrorism blacklist of 59 entities. The pressure from the crisis has borne fruit," Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on Twitter on Friday.