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The New Arab & agencies

Qatar ruler urges end to blocakde, calls for talks

Qatar's emir is on a tour of South East Asia [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 October, 2017

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Qatar’s emir has urged neighbouring states to lift an “unfair” 4-month-old blockade and said he’s ready to open talks to end the diplomatic crisis.
Qatar’s emir has urged neighbouring states to lift an “unfair” 4-month-old blockade and said he’s ready to open talks to end the diplomatic crisis.

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met on Wednesday with Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and spoke during a joint news conference at a presidential palace in Bogor.

The emir said, “We are all brothers and we have suffered losses due to this crisis.”

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar on June 5 due to its alleged support for extremist groups in the region and its close ties with Iran, their regional foe.

They also launched an economic embargo. Qatar denies the charges.

Indonesia has said all sides in the dispute should exercise restraint.

Qatar's foreign minister on Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia of attempting to engineer "regime change" in Qatar through its four-month blockade of the Gulf state.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told US broadcaster CNBC that Riyadh is attempting to topple Qatar's government.

"We see [Saudi] government officials talking about regime change... We see a country that is bringing back the dark ages of tribes and putting them together in order to create a pressure on connected tribes in Qatar," he said.

Sheikh Mohammed said that the blockade aims to "disrespect and bully" Qatar rather than combat alleged support for terrorism.

"It is nothing to do with stopping financing terrorism or hate speech while they are doing the same by promoting incitement against my country, promoting a regime change in my country," he told CNBC.

He added that the punitive action taken against Qatar has hindered coalition efforts against the Islamic State group.

Qatar is home to the Middle East's largest US military base, where over 11,000 soldiers are stationed.

Due to the current airspace blockade, however, Qatari aircraft providing support to the US-led coalition against IS have had to use alternative routes.

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