17:47 GMT14 August 2020
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    Commenting on the readiness of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to maintain a dialogue with Doha, Saudi expert Anwar Ishki told Sputnik that the Qatar crisis is bound to worsen.

    On Sunday, Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Khalifa said that the countries blocking Qatar, namely,  Saudi Arabia,  Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, are ready for dialogue with Doha if the Qatari authorities confirm the end of their support for terrorism.

    "We express our readiness for a dialogue with Qatar if it confirms the cancellation of terrorism support," Khalifa said at a joint press conference in Bahrain's capital Manama.

    In June, the four aforementioned Arab states cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing the latter of supporting terrorism and meddling in their internal affairs. Doha has denied the accusations.

    Speaking to Sputnik, Saudi expert Anwar Ishki pointed out that "the countries blocking Qatar are doing their best to cooperate with Doha within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) without bringing the crisis to an international level."

    "To achieve this goal and prevent Qatar from supporting terrorist organizations, a spate of new economic [restrictive] measures may be used against Qatar, which may even be expelled from the GCC," Ishki said.

    As for a possible US contribution to resolving the Qatar crisis, Ishki said that Washington had already worked out a strategy on developing relations with Qatar and that it stipulates the division of duties between responsible persons.

    For example, President Donald Trump stands for taking steps to counter terrorism, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calls for clinching agreements with Doha that will allow the US to take control of all the banking operations carried out by Qatar.

    Already, the transfer of each and every riyal from Qatar is coordinated with America, according to Ishki.

    After breaking off relations with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates issued an ultimatum with 13 demands to Qatar.

    The document includes requests that Qatar sever its relations with Iran, close Turkey's military base in Qatar and shut down the TV channel Al Jazeera, as well as support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization which is banned in Russia, Egypt and elsewhere.

    Earlier in July, media reports emerged that the Arab states had scaled down their list of demands to Doha to six requests, excluding the shutdown of Al Jazeera, among other provisions.

    The new ultimatum also did not provide any fixed deadline, according to the reports. It was later reported that the list was not cut down and that a modified list of six broader principles was issued instead.

    However, Bahrain's Ambassador to Russia Ahmed Saati told Sputnik on July 21, that the media reports were wrong and the four Arab countries hadn't cut back or modified the list of demands.

    The Bahraini Foreign Minister, for his part, confirmed that his country, along with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, uphold all the 13 demands of Qatar.

    "Qatar must fulfill all the 13 demands from the list that was given to it by the Arab states," Khalid bin Ahmed Khalifa said.


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