Toronto - In his first publicly televised address since the crisis kicked off in early June, Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, has declared Qatar ready for dialogue but cautioned the country’s sovereignty must be respected.
Toronto – In his first publicly televised address since the crisis kicked off in early June, Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, has declared Qatar ready for dialogue but cautioned the country’s sovereignty must be respected.
“We are open to dialogue to resolve the outstanding problems, so long as Qatar’s sovereignty is respected,” said the Emir.
With regard to the Qatari people, the Qatari Emir heaped high praise on them during his Friday address for their courage during what he called the “malicious smearing campaign:”
“It was a true ethical trial. Our people have passed the test with colours, and we have held steadfast to our principles and traditions even in the time of trials, simple for the reason that we respect ourselves… I call on all of you to continue to hold on to that.”
Late Thursday night, Qatar announced amendments to its anti-terror law, targeted at combatting terrorist funding. On July 11, Qatar signed a new anti-terror funding agreement with the US as part of its commitment to crack down on illicit funding of terrorist groups and individuals.
The amendments identify two lists of terrorist groups and individuals. It also offered definitions regarding terms such as terrorist, terrorist group, terrorist crimes as well as terror funding, setting a set of criteria for appearing on the lists.
The decree is an indication that Qatar is reacting more malleably to the Gulf bloc’s recently proposed set of six principles than it did to their list of thirteen demands, delivered to Qatar June 22.
The demands included the closure of state-funded network, Al Jazeera, the dismantling of a Turkish military base in Qatar, a cooling of relations with Iran and an immediate end to state-sponsored terrorist funding. Describing the list as “unworkable,” Qatar rejected the demands, claiming the list was deliberately manufactured to be impossible to comply with, thereby creating a stalemate in negotiations.
United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, reacted with cautious optimism to the amendments. Taking to Twitter on Friday, Gargash said “The Qatari decree to amend the anti-terrorism law is a positive step to deal seriously with the 59 terrorists. The pressure linked to the crisis has begun to bear fruit.”