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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Quartet says Qatar must meet demands to end boycott

But Saudi foreign minister rules out dispute being discussed at Arab League summit

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash and Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa at the Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Riyadh on April 12, 2018. Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash and Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa at the Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Riyadh on April 12, 2018. Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters

The Arab Quartet boycotting Qatar over its support for terrorism have said Doha must fulfil the demands presented to it last year before ties can be normalised.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt reiterated their stance on at a meeting of foreign ministers in Riyadh on Thursday that also discussed Iran's interference in Arab states. The UAE was represented by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash, who chaired the meeting, state news agency Wam reported.

The list of 13 demands includes Qatar closing Al Jazeera television, reducing its relations with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in the country. The list was presented to Qatar last June, shortly after the boycott was imposed.

The Arab Quartet meeting was held on the sidelines of an Arab League foreign ministers meeting to prepare for the group's 29th summit in Dammam on Sunday.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said the issue of Palestine would be top of the agenda for the summit, which will also discuss other regional concerns such as the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya.

However, the issue of Qatar will not be discussed, Mr Al Jubeir said.

"The solution of Qatar will be within the GCC," he said.

Mediation efforts by Kuwait, which along with fellow GCC member Oman has stayed neutral in the dispute, have not succeeded so far. The United States has also pressed for a resolution to the crisis, which affects its key allies in the region.

The Quartet ministers said Qatar would also have to agree to the six principles laid out at a meeting of Cairo last July, which include commitment to fighting extremism, preventing incitement of hatred and non-interference in the affairs of other states.

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Read more: Saudi Arabia puts Palestine top of Arab League agenda

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Mr Al Jubeir, Dr Gargash, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also discussed Iran's actions in the region at their meeting, which was attended by Arab League secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

They said Tehran's attempts to sow sectarian conflict in the region and supply of weapons to terrorist groups threatened Arab national security and obstructed regional and international efforts to resolve outstanding issues peacefully.

The ministers condemned Iran’s support for subversive and terrorist acts in Arab countries, including the launch of ballistic missiles against Saudi Arabia from Yemen and the training and funding of 116 terrorists arrested recently in Bahrain.