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Russia stresses need for diplomacy in Persian Gulf dispute

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed the need for diplomacy to end the dispute between Qatar and several other Persian Gulf states.

"Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of political-diplomatic efforts aimed at overcoming differences of opinion and the normalization of the difficult situation that exists," said a statement released by the Kremlin on Saturday.

While noting that the conversation was initiated by Qatar and Bahrain, it noted that boosting cooperation in the field of energy and investment was also discussed.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties and cut all land, sea, and air contacts with Qatar on June 5. The four countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region, allegations denied by Doha.

The countries later issued a list of demands for Qatar to meet in return for the normalization of ties. Among them was that Qatar should shut down Al Jazeera, a media network that has reportedly been critical especially of Saudi Arabia, close a Turkish military base, limit its ties with Iran, and “compensate” the sanctioning countries.

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Qatar: list of demands designed to be rejected

Meanwhile, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has stressed that Doha will not give in to any of the demands made by Riyadh and its allies, noting that the requests were “meant to be rejected."

"Everyone is aware that these demands are meant to infringe the sovereignty of the state of Qatar, shut the freedom of speech and impose auditing and probation mechanism for Qatar," he added.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani speaks during a luncheon hosted by the Arab Center of Washington, DC on June 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. 

"We believe that the world is not governed by ultimatums, we believe that the world is governed by the international law, it is governed by an order that does not allow large countries to bully small countries," he noted.

Thani made the remarks with less than 48 hours remaining to the end of the demands' deadlines, stressing that "those parties brand any party of state who opposes their designs as terrorists."

"The United States administration and institutions firmly believe in the state of Qatar, yet the statement made by President [Donald] Trump was based on false allegations and the false impression given to him by the heads of states who imposed blockade on Qatar," he added.

"The state of Qatar has been subjected to unlawful measures on the basis of false allegations without the submission of evidence," he stressed.

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends a joint press conference with his German counterpart at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin on June 7, 2017.

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Saudis push on with Qatar demands

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia reiterated that its demands on Doha were "non-negotiable."    

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir tweeted that Riyadh’s "demands on Qatar to stop funding terrorism are non-negotiable."

"Restrictions on Qatar show zero tolerance for terrorism," he said, claiming that Doha had failed to keep previous vows of stopping "funding terrorism and interfering in other countries' affairs." 

Jubeir made a similar statement last week, stressing that the demands, which most countries have dubbed as being unrealistic, were non-negotiable. "We made our point, we took our steps and it's up to the Qataris to amend their behavior and once they do, things will be worked out, but if they don't they will remain isolated," he said.

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