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Qatar's Foreign Minister Denounces 'Unfair,' 'llegal' Sanctions

Foreign Minister Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (file photo)

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has denounced the sanctions imposed against Doha by Saudi Arabia and its allies as "unfair" and "illegal."

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, and several other Muslim countries this month announced they had suspended ties with Qatar over the emirate's alleged support for Islamist extremists.

Thani, speaking on June 12, welcomed diplomatic efforts to calm the standoff, but insisted that no one can dictate Qatar's foreign policy.

Thani said that Qatar was in contact with international aviation authorities and legal organizations as it tries to fight back against moves by Saudi Arabia and its allies to cut off its land, air, and sea access.

Speaking after diplomatic meetings in Paris, Thani said Qatar was ready to negotiate anything "related to the collective security of the [Persian] Gulf countries" but insisted that Qatari foreign policy was not open to debate.

He also said that "no one has the right" to pressure Qatar to silence TV network Al-Jazeera, which is based in Doha.

Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions in the region continued.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke on June 12 with the emir of Kuwait to discuss the rift, the French presidency said.

Pakistan's prime minister and army chief arrived in Saudi Arabia, where they hope to help ease tensions related to the diplomatic crisis.

Pakistani TV showed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and General Qamar Javed Bajwa arriving in Riyadh on June 6.

Islamabad has long-standing, close ties to Saudi Arabia, but is also involved in recent business ventures in gas-rich Qatar. Sharif is considered close to the royal families in both countries.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP