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Saudi FM says Qatar blockade could last two years, warns of further sanctions Open in fullscreen

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Saudi FM says Qatar blockade could last two years, warns of further sanctions

Adel al-Jubeir said Iran must 'change its policies' to have good ties with Riyadh [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 September, 2017

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Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has said that a blockade imposed on Qatar could go on for at least two years and warned that additional sanctions could be put in place.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has said that a blockade his country and allies imposed on Qatar three months ago could go on for at least two years and warned that additional sanctions could be put in place.

Adel al-Jubeir told reporters on Tuesday that if the rift with neighbouring Doha continued then "so be it."

Jubeir said the spat would not end until Qatari media stopped "supporting terrorism", according to the state-run SPA news agency.

"All countries should not tolerate terrorism. We will not deal with a state that supports it and interferes in the affairs of other countries," he told reporters at the Saudi embassy in London.

"We are ready for the continuation of the crisis with Qatar... we will decide whether there are other sanctions on Doha, according to the circumstances," he added.

Saudi Arabia and its allies Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties and imposed sanctions on Qatar in June, accusing the country of supporting extremists and of growing too close to Iran.

Doha has categorically denied the charges.

Jubeir also denied any warming of relations with regional rival Iran after Tehran thanked Riyadh for its handling of the annual hajj pilgrimage.

He lashed out at Iran, which has supported Qatar in the ongoing crisis, saying Tehran's talk of a possible rapprochement with the kingdom was "laughable".

"If Iran wants to have good relations with Saudi Arabia, it has to change its policies. It has to respect international law. At this time, we do not see... that they're serious about wanting to be a good neighbour," said Jubeir.

Despite the two countries having severed diplomatic relations in January 2016 after Iranians stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran, some 86,000 Iranian pilgrims took part in the hajj pilgrimage last week.

Iranians had been unable to participate in 2016 after talks collapsed over security concerns, following a stampede the previous year which killed up to 2,300 people, including hundreds of Iranians.

Qatar sent only dozens of its citizens across the border to Saudi Arabia for the hajj because of Saudi-imposed restrictions on Qatari pilgrims this year following the crisis between the Gulf neighbours.

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