Saudi bloc says talks with Qatar hinge on change in policies

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Qatari officials must revise their policies before direct talks to resolve the crisis could begin.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Qatari officials must revise their policies before direct talks to resolve the crisis could begin.PHOTO: AFP

ABU DHABI (BLOOMBERG) - A senior official in the Saudi-led alliance said Qatari officials must revise their policies before direct talks to resolve the crisis could begin.

While dialogue is important, it should be based on a Qatari "review of actions", United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.

"Repeating the same positions deepens the crisis," he said late on Saturday (July 22).

Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in his first public comments since the crisis broke out in June, said his country is open to talks to end the stand-off as long as its sovereignty is respected.

He condemned the campaign by Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt to isolate his country, saying it violates international law.

Gargash's comments dash the possibility of imminent talks even after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday that the US is "satisfied with the effort" Qatar is making to counter terrorism.

He urged its neighbours "to consider as a sign of good faith lifting this land blockade".

The Saudi-led alliance severed its diplomatic and transport links with Qatar on June 5, accusing the country of supporting Sunni extremist groups and Iranian-backed Shiite militants. Qatar denies the charge and says the move was an attempt by Saudi Arabia to impose its will on smaller nations in the Gulf.