Qatar demands 'blockade' lifted before Gulf crisis talks

"We have to make it very clear for everyone, negotiations must be done in a civilised way and should have a solid basis and not under pressure or under blockade", the foreign minister told reporters in Doha.

Less than a fortnight after the cyber attack, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and other allies severed on June 5 all links with Qatar over accusations that Doha supports extremism - a claim it denies.

The measures also included closing Qatar's only land border, banning its planes from using their airspace and barring Qatari nationals from transiting through their airports.

In what has been described as the strongest language yet from Washington, the State Department said it was "mystified" the UAE and Saudi Arabia had not said exactly why Qatar had been boycotted, according to Reuters.

Sheikh Mohammed's demand came as a UAE minister warned that Qatar's diplomatic isolation could "last years".

Gargash said that while Qatar's rivals were "betting on time", a solution could not be brokered until it abandoned its support for "extremist Islamists". "They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar".

The diplomatic crisis has been a test of the new U.S. administration's pull with Arab allies, and has pitted President Donald Trump's public support for the Saudi-led action against Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's preference for quiet, backroom diplomacy.

"We are encouraging all sides to de-escalate tensions and engage in constructive dialogue", Nauert said.

"We can not just have (vague) demands such as 'the Qataris know what we want from them, they have to stop this or that, they have to be monitored by a foreign monitoring mechanism, '" Sheikh Mohammed said.

"But what we have seen until now, there is no solid ground for these demands, that's why they didn't submit their demands yet".

Qatar's foreign minister, who is expected to travel to Washington next week, said Doha would not negotiate with its neighbors to resolve the Gulf dispute unless they first lift the trade and travel boycott they imposed two weeks ago.

"Now that it has been more than two weeks since the embargo started, we are mystified that the Gulf states have not released to the public nor to the Qataris the details about the claims that they are making toward Qatar", Nauert added. Tillerson has had more than 20 calls and meetings to help resolve the crisis, Nauert said, but now sees little further room for United States mediation.

The Gulf political crisis has also affected countries outside the region.

Meanwhile, Ankara yesterday once again criticized the Gulf countries' measures taken against Qatar, saying the sanctions are not helping to solve the crisis.

Qatari media reported that the Turkish troops had arrived on Sunday for joint military exercises.

  • Zachary Reyes