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It's not about terrorism, it's about shutting down freedom of speech: Qatar slams 'unrealistic' demands Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

It's not about terrorism, it's about shutting down freedom of speech: Qatar slams 'unrealistic' demands

Qatar officially handed its response to Kuwait on Monday [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 July, 2017

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Qatar's foreign minister has said that demands put to Doha by Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Gulf diplomatic crisis were impossible to meet.
The demands put to Doha by Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Gulf diplomatic crisis were impossible to meet, Qatar's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

"The list is unrealistic and is not actionable," Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told reporters in Doha.

He stressed that Doha was "prepared to engage in dialogue and examine grievances" and that there were "plenty of ways to prevent the crisis escalating".

"It's not about terrorism, it's talking about shutting down the freedom of speech," he said at a joint press conference after talks with German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel.

"Enough with the smear campaign and false accusations," Sheikh Mohammed added, addressing his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – who accuse Qatar of supporting extremism – gave Doha an extra 48 hours to meet their demands after an initial 10-day deadline expired on Sunday.

These demands included Doha closing broadcaster Al Jazeera as well as downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran.

Qatar officially handed its response to Kuwait on Monday, which is mediating in the dispute, but its contents have not been disclosed.

Sheikh Mohammed refused to give any further details on Tuesday, but said Doha was looking for a solution to the month-long crisis based on dialogue.

"The state of Qatar has adopted a very constructive attitude since the beginning of the crisis. We are trying to act mature and discuss the matter."

Gabriel, who visited Saudi Arabia on Monday, said he saw signs emerging of a chance to involve "international bodies" in the discussions and to get all sides involved in the dispute around the negotiating table.

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