Egypt tells EU no ‘compromise’ over Qatar

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels.

:: Egypt has warned the EU that the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) would accept no compromise in their dispute with Qatar over allegations that Doha supports terrorism.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, speaking after talks with European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels, said Qatar must accept in full the demands by the ATQ — comprising Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.

“It is not an issue of compromise, we cannot compromise with any form of terrorism, we cannot compromise or enter into any form of negotiations,” Shoukry told a press conference.

“It is only once the necessary measures are undertaken by Qatar, that goes toward truly accepting to be a partner in the fight against terrorism, that this crisis will be resolved,” he said.

Shoukry said Qatar was “harboring elements associated to terrorist ideologies, to radical ideologies, that they have utilized their media outlets to promote and to justify and to glorify terrorist activity.”

The four Arab states have demanded that Qatar stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement, end ties with Iran, and close broadcaster Al Jazeera which they accuse of inciting unrest in their countries.

But they face mounting international pressure to compromise in their boycott against Qatar, particularly from the US.

Mogherini — who recently met Kuwait’s emir, a key figure involved in trying to mediate the crisis — in turn reiterated calls for talks to resolve the crisis

“We in Europe see this as a need not just for one country but for all countries,” she said, adding that the EU shared with Egypt a “clear commitment to fight terrorism.”

But she added that the EU believed the Kuwaiti-mediated talks “can and should start as a matter of urgency,” if only to head off fresh tensions which undermine the fight against terrorism, she said.

“The EU will continue to have good relations with all the countries involved,” the former Italian foreign minister added.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said earlier that his government would keep up a blockade of Qatar.

“Egypt will stand by its decision and will not backtrack on this matter,” El-Sisi said at a youth conference in Alexandria Monday. “Our persistence on its own, our stance, and this block, is pressure in itself.”

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said on Friday he was ready for dialogue, but any solution must respect Qatar’s sovereignty. Kuwait has sought to mediate and the US and Germany have urged dialogue.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan left Qatar on Monday after two days in the Gulf trying to mediate in the dispute, but there was no sign the Turkish leader had made any progress.

The ATQ wants Qatar to reduce ties with Iran, close down a Turkish military base and shut the Al Jazeera TV channel, which they view as critical. Turkey and Qatar are backers of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

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