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Gulf crisis: Qatar can live under embargo forever, no damage to economy, says envoy to US

Washington: Qatar's ambassador to the US has called for an end to the ongoing "blockade" of his country by a coalition of Arab countries while defiantly asserting that they could live under the embargo indefinitely.

"There is no damage to our economy. Qatar is solid in its economy and we are comfortable and we can continue like this forever," Ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani told CNN on Wednesday.

Qatari foreign minister meets US secretary of state Rex Tillerson. AFP

Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrehman Al-Thani meets US secretary of state Rex Tillerson. AFP

West Asia was plunged into one of its worst diplomatic crises in decades on 5 June when four countries — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates — announced they would be cutting ties to Qatar over its alleged support of terrorism.

They provided a list of 13 demands to the Qatari government, including shuttering the Al Jazeera media network and reducing diplomatic ties with Iran. Qatar's foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said the list was "made to be rejected".

The Qatari envoy to the US said the crisis was counterproductive to the region and to the fight against terrorism.

"The State of Qatar has demonstrated its constructive approach to resolve this crisis and we have called many times to have a meeting to sit and discuss this; so now it's up to the boycotting countries to decide and come to the table," he said.

Al-Thani's comments came as representatives for the four nations boycotting Qatar appeared willing to slightly relax their strict demands on the isolated state.

At a briefing in New York on Wednesday, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the UN Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Mouallimi emphasised the importance of the six principles for renewal of diplomatic relations with Qatar, which were agreed to by boycotting nations on 5 July in Cairo.

The six principles were much less strict than the original demands and were made up of broad requests such as "suspending all acts of provocation and speeches inciting to hatred or violence" according to reports. They don't include any action against Al Jazeera.

Still, there are no talks arranged between Qatar and the boycotting nations, despite US secretary of state Rex Tillerson's efforts during his visit to the region in July, CNN said.

Updated Date: Jul 20, 2017 16:37 PM

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