0319 GMT June 16, 2019
“We are open to dialogue to resolve the outstanding problems,” so long as Qatar’s “sovereignty is respected,” Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said in his first public comments since Saudi Arabia and three allies severed ties with the gas-rich emirate.
“Any settlement of the crisis must be based on two principles,” he said in a televised speech, AFP reported.
Sheikh Tamim insisted that any deal “must not take effect in the form of diktats, but rather through mutual commitments undertaken by all the parties.”
“We are open to dialogue to find solutions to lingering problems within the framework of respect for the sovereignty and will of each state as mutual undertakings and joint commitments binding all,” he said.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with Iran. Doha denies the claim.
In his speech delivered on Friday night, the emir said Qatar was “fighting terrorism relentlessly and without compromises, and the international community recognizes this.”
The crisis between the regional allies is the worst to hit the Persian Gulf in decades.
Saudi Arabia and its allies also imposed sanctions on Doha, including closing its only land border, refusing Qatar access to their airspace and ordering their citizens back from Qatar.
And on June 22, they went on to present the emirate with a list of 13 demands with which to comply to resolve the crisis.
Kuwait has been trying to mediate the crisis and several top Western diplomats have toured the region to try to defuse the row.
In a sign of progress, an Emirati state minister on Friday welcomed changes to Qatar’s anti-terror legislation as a “positive” step.
Qatar announced a decree on Thursday establishing two nominal lists of individuals and terrorist entities, and the requirements for being included in them.
It also defined terrorists, terrorist crimes, terrorist entities as well as the financing of terrorism.
The decree follows the signing on July 11 of a US-Qatar agreement to combat terror funding during a visit to Doha by US Secretary of States Rex Tillerson.
However, the four Arab countries at odds with Doha dismissed that deal as “insufficient.”
The changes Qatar announced to its anti-terror legislation amend an earlier law published in 2004, but Thursday’s decree did not provide details of the exact nature of the revisions.