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Qatar says it will not negotiate unless neighbours lift 'blockade'
Qatar will not negotiate with its neighbours to resolve the Gulf diplomatic dispute unless they first lift the trade and travel boycott they imposed two weeks ago, its foreign minister said.

 

The United Arab Emirates, which along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain imposed the measures to isolate Qatar, said the sanctions could
last for years unless Doha accepts demands which the Arab powers plan to reveal in coming days.

 

Qatar denies accusations by its neighbours that it funds terrorism, foments regional instability or has cosied up to their enemy Iran. The dispute has opened a rift among some of the main US allies in the Middle East, with President Donald Trump backing tough measures against Qatar even as his State Department and Defense Department have sought to remain neutral.

 

On Monday Qatar held war games with Turkish troops, showing off one of its few remaining strong alliances after two weeks of unprecedented isolation.

 

Qatar would not negotiate with its neighbours as long as it faced a "blockade", Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said.

 

"They have to lift the blockade to start negotiations," he told reporters. "Until now we didn't see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the precondition for anything to move forward." The countries that have imposed the sanctions deny they amount to a blockade.

 

Thani spoke after UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said those seeking to isolate Qatar had no intention of backing down unless their demands are met.