Tabnak – As the diplomatic spat between Qatar and other GCC member-states led by Saudi Arabia is heading toward becoming a serious regional crisis, various international actors have intensified their mediating efforts. However, the Saudi-led block shows little signs of willingness to reach a mutually-agreed solution.
In one of the latest efforts by the world leaders to mediate in the Persian Gulf crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the need for diplomacy to end the dispute between Qatar and the other Arab states.
"Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of political-diplomatic efforts aimed at overcoming differences of opinion and the normalization of the difficult situation that exists," said a statement released by the Kremlin on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a Turkish presidential spokesman has expressed hope about the likelihood of finding a solution to the ongoing crisis. "There are some indications that a solution is possible. This is our general impression. We need to continue efforts to take measures that go in the right direction," Ibrahim Kalin said.
According to Press TV, Kalin made the remarks after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah at the headquarters of the AKP ruling party in Ankara.
However, Saudi Arabia reiterated on Saturday that its demands on Doha were "non-negotiable." Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir tweeted that Riyadh’s "demands on Qatar to stop funding terrorism are non-negotiable."
"Restrictions on Qatar show zero tolerance for terrorism," he said, claiming that Doha had failed to keep previous vows of stopping "funding terrorism and interfering in other countries' affairs."
On the other hand, as Reuters notes, Qatar faces possible further sanctions by Arab states as a deadline to accept a series of demands is expected to expire on Sunday night with no signs of the crisis ending.
The UAE ambassador to Russia has said that Qatar could face fresh sanctions if it does not comply with the demands. Persian Gulf states could ask their trading partners to choose between working with them or with Doha, he said last week.
But UAE foreign affairs minister Anwar Gargash played down the chances of an escalation, saying that "The alternative is not escalation but parting ways", suggesting Qatar may be forced out of the six-member alliance.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties and cut all land, sea, and air contacts with Qatar on June 5. The four countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region, allegations denied by Doha.
The countries later issued a list of demands for Qatar to meet in return for the normalization of ties. Among them was that Qatar should shut down Al Jazeera, a media network that has reportedly been critical especially of Saudi Arabia, close a Turkish military base, limit its ties with Iran, and "compensate” the sanctioning countries.
Doha has refused to meet the demands, calling them unreasonable, and said it would not negotiate with the countries unless the blockade has been lifted.