Accusations of Arab states arrayed against Qatar amount to defamation, senior foreign ministry source says
Qatar on Friday expressed "regret" over the recent statements of the Saudi-led Arab states boycotting it, saying the accusations against Doha of supporting terrorism and interfering in other countries' internal affairs were "false" and "baseless".
In a joint statement released Wednesday in Cairo, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain voiced their collective "regret" over Qatar’s apparent refusal to meet their 13-point list of demands, including calls to close Doha-based pan-Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir, for his part, declared that the "political and economic embargo" on Qatar -- first imposed one month ago -- was set to remain in place. He also warned that a raft of "fresh measures" would be taken against Qatar at the "appropriate time".
The four states issued a similar statement on Thursday in Jeddah.
"The State of Qatar expressed regret over the content of the two statements issued in Cairo and Jeddah by the four siege countries and the false accusations included in them that amount to defamation in contradiction with the established foundations of international relations", a press release from Qatar's Foreign Ministry read.
"A senior Foreign Ministry source described the statements' claims about the State of Qatar's interference in internal affairs of countries and financing terrorism as baseless allegations, noting that the State of Qatar's position on terrorism is consistent and known for its rejection and condemnation of all forms of terrorism whatever the causes and motives are," the statement said.
It added that Qatar was "an active member committed to international conventions in combating terrorism and its financing at the regional and international levels".
The source also slammed the anti-Qatar bloc for accusing Doha of leaking the list of demands of the four countries saying "the allegations are baseless and can be refuted with evidence".
Qatar remains ready "to cooperate and review all claims that do not contradict with the sovereignty of the State of Qatar under the sponsorship of the impartial mediator or whoever the mediator sees appropriate to participate in solving the crisis as part of joint dialogue," the statement added.
The ongoing crisis in inter-Arab relations climaxed on June 5, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen all abruptly cut diplomatic relations with Doha, accusing it of meddling in their domestic affairs and supporting terrorist groups.
Mauritania followed suit shortly afterward, while Jordan downgraded its diplomatic representation in Doha.
Saudi Arabia also sealed its land border with Qatar, geographically isolating the tiny Gulf nation.
Doha, for its part, strenuously denies that it is a supporter of terrorism, describing the moves to isolate it as “unjustified” and in breach of international law.