Qatar gets list of demands as Gulf crisis worsens

- Agence France-Presse, DOHA

Jun 25, 2017-

Qatar on Saturday confirmed it had received a 13-point list of demands from Saudi-led allies in a major escalation of the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.

The list—which apparently includes a call for Qatar to close down broadcaster Al-Jazeera—are the demands that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt want met to end a diplomatic and trade “blockade” of Qatar, lasting almost three weeks.

Doha has been told that it faces “divorce” from its Gulf neighbours unless it takes their demands seriously.

As the crisis deepened and the United Nations offered to help resolve the regional diplomatic row, Qatar said it had received the list of demands from its neighbouring countries. “Qatar announced its receipt of a paper, on June 22, containing demands from the seige countries and Egypt,” read a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, published in the early hours of Saturday morning local time.

“The State of Qatar is currently studying this paper, the demands contained therein and the foundations on which they were based, in order to prepare an appropriate response.”

As well as the closure of Al-Jazeera, a long-standing source of conflict between Doha and neighbouring countries which accuse it of fomenting regional strife, the wide-reaching list makes other demands on Qatar.

These include calls for Doha to cut any ties to groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State organisation, Al-Qaeda and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.

Qatar has also been asked to hand over opposition figures wanted by its three neighbours and Egypt, downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran and shut a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Al-Jazeera has denounced the move as an attack on media freedom.

Al-Jazeera, one of the largest news organisations in the world, said that it “deplores” calls for it to be taken off air.

“We in the network believe that any call for closing down Al-Jazeera is nothing but an attempt to silence the freedom of expression in the region and to suppress people’s right to information,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

 

UN offers to help resolve row

UNITED NATIONS (US): The United Nations has offered to step in to help resolve a deepening crisis in the Gulf after Qatar was confronted with a list of demands from its neighbors, including the closure of Al-Jazeera television.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this week had been adamant that Kuwait was best placed to lead efforts to defuse the crisis.

Tensions escalated, however, after Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates presented a list of demands to Qatar overnight.

These included the closure of Al-Jazeera, a downgrading of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate, according to the list that was leaked.

“We hope that the countries involved resolve the situation through dialogue,” said UN spokeswoman Eri Kaneko. “We are ready to assist if requested by the parties.”

The list of demands has not been officially confirmed. “We continue to follow the situation with deep concern. We are aware of reports of a list of demands on Qatar. We are not able to comment in detail on, or confirm such a list,” added Kaneko.

Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s state minister for foreign affairs, warned that Qatar should take the demands seriously or face “divorce” from its Gulf neighbors.

Published: 25-06-2017 10:30

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