CAIRO (Reuters) – Qatar dismissed as “baseless” on Friday renewed accusations that it meddles in other countries’ affairs and finances terrorism, in its first public response to a statement from four Arab states locked in a diplomatic dispute with the tiny emirate.
In the joint statement issued late on Thursday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt said Doha’s refusal to accept their demands to end the diplomatic standoff was proof of its links to terrorist groups.
The four also said their 13 demands were now void and that they would enact new measures against Qatar, without specifying what these would be.
“The State of Qatar’s position on terrorism is consistent and known for its rejection and condemnation of all forms of terrorism, whatever the causes and motives,” the state news agency said, quoting a senior foreign ministry source.
Qatar remains ready to “cooperate and review all claims that do not contradict the sovereignty of the State of Qatar,” it added.
The four Arab states have cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, which they also accuse of allying with their regional arch-foe Iran. Doha also denies that accusation.
Their original 13 demands presented to Qatar included shutting down the pan-Arab al-Jazeera TV channel and closing a Turkish military base in Doha.
Qatari officials have repeatedly said the demands were so strict that they suspected the four countries never seriously intended to negotiate them, and were instead seeing to hobble Doha’s sovereignty.
(Reporting by Ali Abdelaty, writing by Reem Shamseddine; Editing by Gareth Jones)