Saudi-led bloc modifies demands to end crisis
July 19 2017 09:52 PM
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Qatar has denounced the "siege" imposed by its neighbours.

Agencies

*Qatar has rejected any demands that threaten its sovereignty or violate international law

After finding there are no takers for the 13-point list of demands submitted by the four Arab nations blockading Qatar, they are now asking Doha to accept 'six broad principles' to end the Gulf crisis.
Diplomats from Saudi Arabia, the UAE , Bahrain and Egypt told reporters at the UN they now wanted Qatar to accept 'six broad principles' including commitments to combat terrorism and extremism and to end acts of provocation and incitement.
Qatar has vehemently denied any support to terrorists and refused to agree to any measures that threaten its sovereignty or violate international law, and denounced the "siege" imposed by its neighbours.
According to the BBC , at a briefing for a group of UN correspondents in New York on Tuesday, diplomats from the four countries -- Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt-- said they wanted to resolve the crisis amicably.
Saudi permanent representative Abdullah al-Mouallimi said their foreign ministers had agreed the six principles at a meeting in Cairo on July 5 and that they "should be easy for the Qataris to accept".
"This latest development does, on the surface, hint at a possible way out of the current standoff between Qatar and its neighbours. But it is unlikely to provide a permanent solution," the BBC said.
"The problem comes down to how countries choose to interpret 'extremism and terrorism'. Qatar has long prided itself on giving voice to alternative views to the edited, government-approved ones aired by its conservative neighbours. Hence one of the reasons why Qatar's Al Jazeera network has been such a thorn in their sides," BBC added.
"Qatar considers the Muslim Brotherhood a peaceful, political force. But Qatar's opponents in the region consider the Brotherhood to be a terrorist organisation that is an existential threat to their rule. These differences have yet to be resolved."
According to the New York Times, Qatar has been combating terrorism and extremism, denying financing and safe havens to terrorist groups, stopping incitement to hatred and violence, and refraining from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. 
Mouallimi stressed that there would be "no compromise" on the principles, but added that both sides would be able to discuss how to implement them.
The list of 13 demands handed to Qatar on June 22 included shutting down the Al Jazeera news network, closing a Turkish military base, cutting ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and downgrading relations with Iran.
Mouallimi said closing Al Jazeera might not be necessary but stopping incitement to violence and hate speech was essential.
"If the only way to achieve that is by closing down Al Jazeera, fine," he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. "If we can achieve that without closing down Al Jazeera, that's also fine. The important thing is the objective and the principle involved."
UAE permanent representative Lana Nusseibeh said if Qatar was "unwilling to accept core principles around what defines terrorism or extremism in our region, it will be very difficult" for it to remain in the Gulf Co-operation Council.
Qatar has denied aiding jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda or Islamic State (IS).
UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation Reem al-Hashimi said: "At this stage, the ball is in Qatar's court".
She added that the US had "a very constructive and very important role to play in hopefully creating a peaceful resolution to this current crisis".
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has questioned the list of demands, acknowledging that some elements would "be very difficult for Qatar to meet".
Also on Tuesday, NBC News cited US intelligence officials as disputing a report that alleged Qatar had paid a ransom of $1bn to Iraqi militias, Iranian security officials and jihadists in Syria as part of a deal to secure the release of Qatari nationals kidnapped in Iraq.

Last updated: July 20 2017 12:53 AM


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