Qatari media has quoted Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani as saying on Friday that there is a new initiative to end the three-year Gulf crisis and that Qatar is open to negotiations.
The Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera quoted Sheikh Mohammed as saying, “They are open to dialogue and whoever takes a step, we move forward ten years, provided that they are serious and honest.”
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies and accuses the boycotting state of trying to undermine its sovereignty.
Kuwait and the United States have tried to mediate the dispute, which has undermined Washington’s efforts to form a united front against Iran, which is locked in a power struggle in the region with Saudi Arabia.
“We hope that the new initiative differs from its predecessors and we find it serious to deal with the Kuwait initiative,” the Qatari minister said, adding that Qatar had some talks with Saudi Arabia at the end of 2019, but the process was stopped.
Sources told Reuters that the United States launched new efforts to get the four countries to reopen the Gulf airspace of Qatar aircraft, especially Qatar Airways, as a first step to end the crisis.
“This is not the first time that the Americans have tried … our position has not changed,” a Gulf official said.
Qatar hosts the largest US military base in the region, while Bahrain hosts the Fifth American Fleet and Abu Dhabi and Riyadh each host US forces.
The boycott countries have identified 13 requests, including the closure of the Al-Jazeera channel, the closure of a Turkish base, the reduction of the level of relations with Iran, and the severing of ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar has repeatedly denied having direct links with the Muslim Brotherhood, which other countries have designated a terrorist organization.