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Qatar's leader urges end to trade embargo, calls for talks

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, left, gestures as he talks with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during their meeting at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (Adi Weda/Pool photo via AP)
October 18, 2017 - 3:18 AM

BOGOR, Indonesia - Qatar's emir urged neighbouring states to lift an "unfair" 4-month-old trade embargo and said Wednesday that he's ready to open talks to end the diplomatic crisis.

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who arrived in Indonesia late Tuesday from a state visit in neighbouring Malaysia, said at a joint news conference with Indonesia's president that the standoff is hurting all the countries involved.

"We are all brothers and we have suffered losses due to this crisis," he said.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar on June 5 due to its alleged support for extremist groups in the region and its close ties with Iran, their regional foe. They also launched an economic embargo that banned Qatar Airways flights from using their airspace, closed off the small country's sole land border with Saudi Arabia and blocked its ships from using their ports.

"Qatar is ready to open a dialogue to produce an agreement that must be obeyed by all parties based on the sovereignty of the state," the emir said.

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo did not mention the dispute in the news conference at the ornate presidential palace in Bogor, outside the capital, Jakarta, but has previously said all sides should exercise restraint.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of agreements in civil aviation, education, youth and sports co-operation, and health care.

The emir's visit to the world's most populous Muslim nation, which has close ties with Qatar and other Arab countries, comes after Saudi Arabia's King Salman and a huge entourage visited Jakarta and Bali in March for nearly a month.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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