Arab bloc 'must apologise' to Qatar before dialogue

Blockading countries must apologise to Qatar before dialogue, says minister
2 min read
24 August, 2017
Qatar's Defence Minister Khalid al-Attiyah said the Arab nations imposing a blockade on Doha must first apologise before attempting to engage in dialogue, during a meeting with his Russian counterpart.
Al-Attiyah made the comments during a meeting in Moscow [Getty]
The resolution to the Gulf crisis will only begin with an apology from the Saudi-led Arab bloc, Qatar's defence minister said on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt should begin to apologise for the hacking of the Qatar news agency and the Gulf state’s leader Sheikh Tamim bin al-Hamad before entering into a dialogue in Kuwait, Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah said during a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow.

“The solution to the Gulf crisis is clear,” al-Attiyah said. "The siege countries should apologise for hacking the QNA website and fabricating statements attributed to the Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, lifting the siege, and then going to Kuwait for the dialogue,” al-Attiyah said.

Qatar maintains its position on its willingness to engage in dialogue with the neighbouring states, al-Attiyah confirmed.

The comments were made during a meeting between al-Attiyah and Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu in Moscow, where the two senior officials discussed potential military arms deals, as well as developing bilateral relations.

“As far as our mutual cooperation is concerned, this is not just the purchase of air defence systems but also technologies. We would like to develop this industry and bring this technology to Qatar," al-Attiyah told Shoigu.

Since June 5, Saudi Arabia and allies Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates shut down air, maritime and land links with Qatar, and imposed economic sanctions, accusing Doha of supporting "terrorists" and of being too close to Iran.

Qatar, categorically denying the charges, accuses its Gulf neighbours of seeking to strangle its economy.

The tiny emirate, which hosts a population of 2.6 million, 80 percent of them foreigners, ranks as the world's richest on a per-capita basis, according to the International Monetary Fund.

It holds a staggering $330 billion in a sovereign wealth fund, with assets heavily invested abroad, and has spent billions on developing its military capabilities in recent years.