'Illegal' Qatar blockade just a 'show of power' from Gulf states, says top diplomat

The skyline of Doha, Qatar.
Tim De Waele | Corbis | Getty Images
The skyline of Doha, Qatar.

Saudi Arabia and other gulf nations are merely flexing their political muscles by imposing a blockade on Qatar, the state's ambassador to the U.K. told CNBC's Street Signs Thursday.

The sanctions are "show of power," Yousef Ali Al-Khater said.

Despite his interpretation, news broke earlier this week that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates had reduced their previous 13-point list of demands imposed on neighboring Qatar to just six principles.

According to Qatar-based news outlet Al Jazeera, these now include a commitment to combating terrorism, compliance with the Riyadh Agreement of 2013 within the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) and ceasing involvement in the affairs of other states. Former calls for Al Jazeera itself to be taken off the air, as well as for Qatar to suspend its hosting of a Turkish military base and ties with Iran, have since been abandoned.

Al-Khater repeatedly emphasized Qatar's willingness to participate in negotiations and cooperate with other international intermediaries such as the U.S., the U.K. and Kuwait. "It's time now for negotiation and dialogue, not confrontation," he said.

Al-Khater also voiced his support of diplomacy through the formal channels of the UN and the GCC. "We believe ... in transparency, that's our strategy," he added.

Despite Al-Khater frequently referring to an "illegal blockade," and saying that its lifting was "the most important issue," the over 6 week-old trade embargo does not seem to have hurt the Qatari economy too much. According to a Reuters poll of 12 economists, published Thursday, the median forecast for gross domestic product growth this year was reduced from 3.5 percent to 2.3 percent. But the poll also anticipated consumer price inflation to remain the same as previously, at 2.4 percent.

Talks to resolve the crisis are ongoing. Reuters reported Wednesday that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit some of the nations involved later this week in an effort to find a resolution to the spat.

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