EghtesadOnline: Britain has joined the U.S. in calling for an end to the boycott of Qatar after the country pledged to fight terrorism.
“I welcome the Emir of Qatar’s commitment to combat terrorism in all its manifestations, including terrorist financing,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement on Sunday. “We hope in turn Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain respond by taking steps toward lifting the embargo. This will allow substantive discussions on remaining differences to begin.”
According to Bloomberg, the four nations cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June, accusing its government of funding terrorism. Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has condemned their campaign to isolate his nation, saying it violates international law. He says his country is open to dialog, if sovereignty is respected, to resolve the dispute.
American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that the U.S. is “satisfied with the effort” Qatar is making to counter terrorism and urged its neighbors “to consider, as a sign of good faith, lifting this land blockade.”
But U.A.E. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Qatari officials must revise their policies before discussions could begin, making the possibility of imminent talks more remote.
Maintaining the embargo may be harder than the Saudi-led bloc thought. The U.A.E.’s two government-controlled telecom providers, Etisalat and Du, said they will restore Qatar’s beIN Sports channels with “immediate effect,” according to local media.
BeIN is a subsidiary of Qatar’s Al Jazeera Media Network, which the boycotting nations want closed as one of their conditions to resolve the feud. More than a month of suspension had deprived soccer fans of access to premier sports competitions.
As the U.K. and U.S. urged an end to the spat, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- an important ally of Qatar -- arrived in Saudi Arabia to leave his imprint on mediation efforts. After meeting the Saudi monarch and crown prince in Jeddah, the Turkish president is set to fly to Kuwait, which has been the lead mediator. On Monday, Erdogan will travel to Qatar to meet its emir.
Turkey moved to support Qatar at the onset of the crisis, shoring up its food imports and expediting plans to send troops to the new Turkish base in the emirate. The military cooperation was denounced by the boycotting nations, which have demanded it end.