Turkey rejects Arab Qatar demands, US calls them 'difficult'

Crime scene Richard Williams

The US secretary of state had previously called on Saudi Arabia and its allies to spell out their demands following measures by the countries to isolate Qatar diplomatically and economically on June 5.

In a statement issued in Washington, Tillerson said some of the demands presented by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will be very hard for Qatar to meet, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, calling on the sides to focus on areas which provide a basis for dialogue.

Doha received a 13-point list from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain that included demands to shut down the media network Al-Jazeera and cut ties with Islamist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood.

He urged the sides to continue negotiations by saying that it would be a "productive step", adding that the U.S. believes its allies are "stronger when they are working together".

"The demands aim to achieve regional countries' stability, stand firmly against foreign interference and stop support for terrorist organisations", it said.

Tillerson is also calling for a "lowering of rhetoric" to "help ease the tension".

But Qatari officials didn't budge from their previous insistence that they won't sit down with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations to negotiate an end to the crisis while under siege.

"To ask Turkey to pull out its troops from Qatar is firstly disrespectful behaviour towards us", he said in Istanbul, according to Reuters.

Bahrain, Yemen and the Maldives have also said they are indefinitely severing ties with Qatar.

Speaking after a prayer at the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the sweeping ultimatum the Gulf states have put to Qatar is an attack on the country's "sovereign rights".

The UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said the dispute could be resolved "through diplomacy if Qatar renounces its support for extremism and terrorism".

Turkey has been a powerful and outspoken regional ally of Qatar after the Arab countries cut diplomatic ties.

Qatari Journalist Jaber al-Harami said via his social media account that the ultimatum was meant to force Qatar into a state of "trusteeship".

Doha, whose neighbours have closed their airspace to Qatari flights, has said it was reviewing the list of 13 demands, but said it was not reasonable or actionable.

Erdogan told Portuguese television this week that he had approached the Gulf state's King Salman "with the same idea for Saudi" after work began on the base in Qatar in 2014.

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