samedi 1 juillet 2017

Blockade is 'declaration of war': Qatari minister

L'embargo est une « déclaration de guerre »: ministre du Qatar

The Qatari defense minister is in Ankara for talks with Turkish officials

World Bulletin / News Desk

Qatari Minister of Defense Khaled Al-Attiyah has described a blockade imposed by several Arab states on his country as a "declaration of war".

"This is a bloodless declaration of war," Al-Attiyah said in an interview with the London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper published on Friday.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates abruptly cut ties with Qatar on June 5, citing Doha’s support for terrorism.

Doha denies the accusations and has rejected a 13-point list of demands it received from the four countries to restore ties.

Al-Attiyah arrived in Ankara on Thursday for talks with Turkish officials.

He said his talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Turkish counterpart Fikri Isik on Friday are expected to focus on the issue of the Turkish base in Qatar.

"Qatar and Turkey maintain historic ties and my visit comes in the context of boosting defense cooperation between the two countries," he said.

Earlier in June, Turkey’s parliament ratified two deals on deploying troops to Qatar and training its army.

The Qatari minister also described his country's relations with the U.S. as "strategic".

Qatar is home to the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, which houses U.S. Central Command, and the U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Roughly 10,000 U.S. troops are stationed at the al-Udeid Air Base.

"The closure of the Udeid Air Base in Qatar is absolutely out of the question," Al-Attiyah said.

He went on to dismiss all accusations about Qatar's support for terrorism, describing the claims aiming to "demonize Qatar".

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