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Qatar calls for talks to end Gulf crisis

Kuwait has led the efforts to end the crisis, but without success [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 November, 2017

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Qatar has called to end a nearly five month old political and economic blockade of the tiny Gulf state by a Saudi-led bloc of Arab countries.

Qatar has renewed calls for talks to end a nearly five month old political and economic blockade on the tiny Gulf state by a Saudi-led bloc of Arab countries.

Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed al Thani, the director of the Qatari government's communications office, made the comments in an interview with Spanish daily El Pais published on Tuesday.

"Political dialogue and mediation are the way to solve any differences of opinion, rather than aggression," Sheikh Saif said.

"We believe it's always the best way - to sit around a table. Dialogue is the way to have positive developments for the sake of the people of the GCC, for the sake of stability of the region," he added.

The Gulf crisis erupted 5 June when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, imposing economic sanctions as it accused the emirate of supporting terrorism and of becoming too close with rival Iran.

Riyadh and its allies closed land and maritime borders, suspended air links and expelled Qatari citizens. Doha denies the charges.

Last month, Qatar's emir said US President Donald Trump offered to host a meeting to end the diplomatic crisis but the Saudi-led bloc boycotting Doha refused to take part.

"The president showed he is committed to find an end to this crisis… he suggested that we come and I told him straightaway, 'Mr. President, we are very ready, I've been asking for dialogue all along," Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said.

"It was supposed to be very soon this meeting, but I don't have any response [from the other countries]," he added.

While Trump had initially appeared to support Saudi Arabia in isolating Qatar, he has since called for mediation and predicted a rapid end to the crisis.

Kuwait has led the efforts to end the crisis, but without success.

The bloc's demands of Doha are include the closure of media outlets such as Al Jazeera and The New Arab, mothballing a Turkish military base in Qatar and payment of "compensation" to Gulf states and Egypt.

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