UAE rejects dialogue with Qatar 'until it revises policies'

UAE foreign minister responds to Qatar Emir's speech: No dialogue with Qatar until 'policy revision'
2 min read
23 July, 2017
A top official in the Arab bloc isolating Qatar has expressed disappointment about a speech made by the Qatari Emir on Friday.
Qatar has categorically denied the claim it has supported terrorism [Getty]

A top official in the Arab bloc isolating Qatar has expressed disappointment about a speech made by the Qatari Emir, saying the Gulf state needs to change its policies as part of any direct negotiations to resolve the crisis.

Anwar Gargash, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, said late on Saturday that a call for dialogue by Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was welcome, but it could only happen after Doha had made changes in its policies.

"I had hoped that Sheikh Tamim's speech would have been an initiative for [policy] revision and a call for talks," Gargash said on his official Twitter account.

"The positions are well-known and repeating them only deepens the crisis. Dialogue is necessary and needed but its backbone has to be revision," he added.

The top diplomat failed to specify the required changes to end the economic and diplomatic blockade, which was imposed on Qatar by the Arab bloc over unsubstantiated claims it has supported Islamist extremists.

Gargash's comments come after the a top Emirati offical welcomed Qatar's decision to amend its anti-terrorism laws and Abu Dhabi-based telecommunications giant Etisalat resumed broadcasts of Qatar's BeIN sports satellite network, which was blocked since the start of the Gulf crisis.

Qatar's Sheikh Tamim said in a televised speech late on Friday that Qatar was prepared to talk with the four countries lined up against it, but that any resolution must respect its sovereignty and the terms cannot be dictated from outside.

In the Emir's first address following the blockade, he denounced the "malicious smearing campaign" directed against the emirate.

State-aligned media in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have engaged in an orchestrated campaign against Doha since they cut ties with the emirate in June, accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their rival Iran.

Qatar has categorically denied the claims.

Sheikh Tamim stressed during his speech that Doha does not support terrorism.

"We are fighting terrorism relentlessly and without compromises… true Islam could never be a source of terrorism," he said.

On Thursday, Sheikh Tamim amended the country's anti-terror laws just days after Qatar signed an agreement with the US that aimed at curbing the financing of terror.