Qatar Emir Remains Committed to Developing Ties With Iran Despite Gulf Row


United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet with his Qatari counterpart Tuesday, three weeks after the start of a Saudi, Emirati, Bahrani and Egyptian-backed boycott on the small, gas-rich USA ally.

Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from Washington, DC, said that the Qatari government's position that these demands could not be met by Doha was, in a way, also backed by Heather Nauert, the US State Department spokesperson, who told reporters that "some of them will be hard for Qatar to incorporate and to try to adhere to".

Among the demands, the countries want Qatar to shut down its state-funded Al Jazeera news network, cut ties to extremist groups, halt the development of a Turkish military base in the country and weaken diplomatic ties with Iran, which they fear is increasing its sphere of influence in the region.

Qatar confirmed Friday it had received the list and was studying the demands.

In his Eid al-Fitr speech, Erdogan supported Doha's position vis-à-vis the 13 demands from Qatar made by Saudi Arabia and its allies, which have imposed a blockade on Doha. Qatar said the website was hacked.

Iran has offset the boycott of Qatar by shipping tons of food to Doha since the Saudis have blocked the peninsula nation's only land border through which most food imports were previously shipped.

Tillerson's meeting with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani at the State Department also comes days after Doha dismissed a list of demands from Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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Qatar meanwhile has gotten some lifeline support from Turkey, Iraq and Iran.

Washington has close economic and security ties with both sides of the quarrel. And the U.S. and Saudi militaries work closely together as well.

"It's an all-out struggle of wills", he said.

The US, which urges a diplomatic solution to the crisis, has been pushing for a clear list of grievances that are "reasonable and actionable".

Asked about Jubeir's stance Tuesday, Tillerson replied: "We hope all the parties will continue to talk to one another in good faith". Qatar, however, rejected the accusations, calling them "unjustified" and "baseless".

"We continue to call on those countries to work together and work this out".