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Turkey rejects Arab terms to Qatar, US says are 'difficult'

26 June 2017

In his strongest statement of support for Qatar in the almost three-week-old crisis centred on the Gulf state, Erdogan said the call to withdraw Turkish forces was disrespectful and that Doha - which described the demands as unreasonable - was taking the right approach.

He said Turkey can "appreciate and embrace" Qatar's resistance to the overwhelming pressure from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday encouraged Qatar and the Arab countries boycotting it to meet and resolve a diplomatic row that has put its Gulf allies at odds.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt chose to cut diplomatic ties and all land sea and air contacts with Qatar, accusing the Persian Gulf country of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs.

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"Helping Qatar economically and developing ties, particularly in the private sectors of both countries, could be a common goal", Rouhani said on Sunday. Tillerson also said a "lowering of rhetoric would also help ease the tension".

Erdogan said calls to withdraw his country's troops from Qatar were disrespect to Turkey. "The kingdom can not allow Turkey to set up a military base on its territory", said a statement carried by SPA state news agency. Iran and Turkey have backed Qatar in the crisis, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling the demands an attack on the gas-rich nation's sovereignty and against worldwide law.

At the end of his remarks, he said the Islamic world required unity and integrity and the two countries could undoubtedly work together in these arenas.

Qatar's foreign minister has rejected a list of 13 conditions set by four Arab states for lifting sanctions, saying it is neither reasonable nor actionable, the BBC reported.

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The demands from the Saudis, the Emiratis, the Egyptians and the Bahrainis amount to a call for a sweeping overhaul of Qatar's foreign policy and natural gas-funded influence peddling in the region.

Tillerson said that the "series of requests presented by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE" at least partly provides "a basis for ongoing dialogue leading to resolution".

Al Sulaiti said that Qatar is hoping to "get more routes for Qatar" and said he trusted the United Nations body to resolve the dispute and "take action very quickly", Reuters reported.

Tillerson also urged all sides to "lower" their rhetoric to ease tensions, and said that the U.S. would stay in "close contact" with all parties and support Kuwait in its mediation efforts.

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