Alwaght- Qatari defense minister has described Saudi-led blockade on his country as a “declaration of war.”
A “declaration of war without blood” has been made against Qatar by the countries which have imposed a siege on the Persian Gulf state, Khaled Al-Attiyah has said.
“What can the closure of the land, sea and air borders to harm the citizens and hit the social fabric among the Gulf countries be described as?” he asked in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
“What Qatar is being subjected to is a campaign and siege which is a declaration of war without blood.” Speaking ahead of his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Friday, Al-Attiyah said: “Qatar and Turkey have historical and continuing ties, and my visit comes in the context of strengthening defense cooperation between the two countries.”
Adding that the Turkish military base in Qatar would be discussed during the meeting.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates severed 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. The list of demands includes ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the closure of Al Jazeera television network, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate.
Qatar on Thursday said the list contained some demands impossible to meet because the underlying accusation was untrue.
Meanwhile, Turkey is setting up a military base on the emirate set to give Turkey a new foothold in the Persian Gulf. A bill was fast-tracked through the Turkish parliament this month as the crisis was breaking out, giving Ankara a mandate to send up to several thousand troops to the base.
Elsewhere, the demand by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab nations for Qatar to close down its al-Jazeera TV channel is an "unacceptable attack" on the right to freedoms of expression and opinion, the United Nations human rights chief said on Friday.
U.N. High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein is "extremely concerned by the demand that Qatar close down the Al Jazeera network, as well as other affiliated media outlets", his spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing.
"Whether or not you watch it, like it, or agree with its editorial standpoints, Al Jazeera's Arabic and English channels are legitimate, and have many millions of viewers. The demand that they be summarily closed down is, in our view, an unacceptable attack on the right to freedom of expression and opinion," Colville said.