Qatar leader open to Arab talks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar’s ruler says his embattled Gulf nation remains open to dialogue with four Arab countries that have isolated it, but that a resolution to the crisis must respect his country’s sovereignty and cannot be dictated.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani made the comments late on Friday night in his first televised speech since the dispute began.

Qatar is locked in a diplomatic crisis with four other Arab countries that accuse it of backing extremist groups. Qatar denies the charge.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and severed air, land and sea links with it on June 5. They later issued a 13-point list of demands needed to resolve the crisis, which Qatar refused to accept within a 10-day deadline.