Germany Sees Saudi-Led Bloc Rejecting Qatar’s Crisis Reply

  • Qatar says dialog only solution to end monthlong impasse
  • Bloc demands Qatar cut ties with Iran, shut Al-Jazeera TV

Qatar Walks Tightrope Between Isolation and Sovereignty

The bloc of four Arab countries boycotting Qatar will reply at the "right time" to the emirate’s response to its conditions for ending the monthlong Gulf crisis, according to a statement from the Saudi-led alliance carried by the state-owned Saudi Press Agency.

Earlier, Germany’s foreign minister said he expects the four countries to reject Qatar’s response, after he held two days of talks with officials from both sides.

Mohammed Al-Thani and Sigmar Gabriel in Doha on July 4.

Photographer: Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty Images

In a joint news conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammad Al-Thani in Doha, Sigmar Gabriel said he believed that Qatar deserved a fair reply and that he hoped the allies would act reasonably. In comments translated from German, he urged dialog to resolve the spat. Qatar delivered its reply through mediator Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar last month on the grounds it supports terrorism and meddles in their internal affairs.

Qatar denies the charges and has said the 13 demands issued by the bloc -- including downgrading ties with Iran, ending Turkey’s military presence in the country, and shutting the Al Jazeera media network -- were deliberately made so steep that they would be rejected. The four allies initially gave Qatar until Monday to respond and then extended the deadline by 48 hours. Their foreign ministers are set to meet on Wednesday in Cairo to discuss the latest developments.

Gabriel held talks with U.A.E. Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan earlier Tuesday, after a Monday meeting with his Saudi counterpart, Adel Al-Jubeir.

Qatar’s response was “in line with the general principle of preserving sovereignty” and not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, Al-Thani said in the press conference. He declined to give details of his country’s offer and again rejected claims that Qatar funded terrorist groups.

The crisis would only been solved through negotiation, he said, “regardless of how much the measures escalate” against Qatar.

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