After weeks of uncertainty, Qatar has said that it is ready to open dialogue with its Gulf neighbors to resolve the ongoing diplomatic crisis.
In an address to the nation, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said that any talk regarding the subject must respect the Qatar’s sovereignty.
In June 2017, a Saudi Arabia-led bloc of nations in Gulf cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar. Qatar has remained isolated with the blockage of its air, sea, and land links. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt alleged that Qatar sponsored terrorism in the region – a charge that Qatar has denied.
In addition, the Saudi-led bloc presented Qatar with a set of 13 demands to comply with to end this blockade. Qatar ignored the demands when the Saudis said that these demands were non-negotiable.
US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson visited the region to urge leaders to open dialogue to end the impasse.
Recent reports have suggested that UAE may have been behind the hacking of Qatar’s news agency website, which had triggered the initial fall-out.
In one of his first public speeches since the crisis unfolded, a defiant Al Thani said that Qatar has always been committed to fighting terrorism. He added, “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.”
Al Thani said that the actions of the Saudi-bloc was as an “ethical trial” and he believes the Qatari have passed that trial impressively.
Saudi Arabia nor its allies have responded to the Emir’s statements.
Our assessment is that it has become clear to all parties that a continued impasse will only cause further harm to the region. Qatar has now taken the first step to indicate its willingness to engage in a dialogue. It is now up to the Saudi-led bloc to meet Qatar half way. We believe that if the Saudis do not yield during negotiations, then that would pin Qatar against a wall. An escalation of the crisis could turn into a military conflict.