Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani (pictured above) on Saturday rejected the 13 demands made by Saudi Arabia and its allies, saying they were never meant to be accepted, reported The Guardian. Qatar had been given till Monday to comply with the demands. Al Thani said the country does not fear any military retaliation for refusing to meet the deadline.
“There is no fear from whatever action would be taken. Qatar is prepared to face whatever consequences,” he said during a press conference in Rome. “But as I have mentioned...There is an international law that should not be violated, and there is a border that should not be crossed.”
Four Arab states had cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 and shut down land, sea and air links. “Everyone is aware that these demands are meant to infringe the sovereignty of the state of Qatar, shut freedom of speech and impose auditing and probation mechanism for Qatar,” Al Thani added.
The foreign minister further said that countries were free to raise grievances with Qatar, and all they needed to do was provide credible proof. Al Thani said such conflicts must be worked out through talks and negotiations and not by imposing ultimatums.
“We believe that the world is governed by international laws, which do not allow big countries to bully small countries,” he told a press conference in Italy. “No one has the right to issue to a sovereign country an ultimatum.”
On June 22, the four Arab countries had placed a list of demands before Qatar. Among its demands, the countries insisted that Qatar shut down state-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera and other news networks, sever relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and also cut all ties with Iran, which has geo-political differences with Saudi Arabia. Qatar had, however, rejected the demands, calling them “neither reasonable nor actionable”.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt had severed diplomatic relations with Qatar accusing it of backing terrorism. Other countries in the region had followed. The countries have not provided any evidence for their claim, while Qatar has repeatedly rejected the allegation that it supports the Islamic State group and Al Qaeda. US President Donald Trump had supported the action, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had called for mediation and a quick resolution of the dispute.