Arab states send Qatar 13 demands to end crisis
June 23 2017 01:27 PM
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Reuters/Dubai

* Ultimatum requires reversal of Qatari policies

* Gives Doha 10 days to comply with 13-point list

* Four Arab states seek Qatari reparations

* Turkish minister rejects call to shut military base

* Qatar says won't negotiate until boycott lifted

Four Arab states that imposed a boycott on Qatar have issued a 13-point list of demands that inlcude closing down Al Jazeera television, curbing ties with Iran, shutting a Turkish base.

Qatar did not immediately comment, but Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani had said on Monday Qatar would not negotiate with the four states until economic, diplomatic and travel ties cut this month were restored.

The countries that imposed the sanctions accuse Qatar of funding terrorism, fomenting regional unrest and drawing too close to their enemy Iran. Qatar rejects those accusations and says it is being punished for refusing to hew to regional powers' policy of supporting authoritarian, military and hereditary rulers.

"The demands are so aggressive that it makes it close to impossible to currently see a resolution of that conflict," Olivier Jakob, a strategist at Switzerland-based oil consultancy Petromatrix, said.

Washington, which is a close military ally of countries on both sides of the dispute, had called for a resolution: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Qatar's neighbours should make their demands "reasonable and actionable".

An official from one of the four nations, who gave details of the demands on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the offer would be "void" unless Qatar complied within 10 days.

The UAE has said sanctions could last for years. Qatar says the sanctions amount to a "blockade", but it has ample reserves to weather the storm.

urkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik rejected the demand to close the base, saying it would represent interference in Ankara's relations with Doha. Turkey might bolster its presence instead.

"Strengthening the Turkish base would be a positive step in terms of the Gulf's security," he said. "Re-evaluating the base agreement with Qatar is not on our agenda."

 

The demands, handed to Qatar by mediator Kuwait, tell Qatar to stop interfering in the four nations' domestic and foreign affairs and refrain from giving Qatari nationality to their citizens, the official from one of the sanctioning states said.

They also include severing ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Jabhat Fateh al Sham, formerly al Qaeda's branch in Syria, and the surrender of all designated terrorists on Qatari territory. Qatar denies it has relationships with terrorist groups or shelters terrorists.

It was also ordered to scale down its diplomatic relations with Iran, limit its commercial ties and expel members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards from its territory. Qatar denies they are there.

The sanctioning countries demanded Qatar pay them reparations for any damage or costs incurred due to Qatari policies. Compliance with the demands would be monitored, with monthly reports in the first year, then every three months the next year, then annually for 10 years, the official said.

Although Reuters was told about the contents of the ultimatum by an official from one of the sanctioning countries, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash accused Qatar of leaking the demands.

Qataris who spoke to Reuters described the demands as unreasonable, particularly the closure of Jazeera, which millions of Arabs see as an important outlet for voices willing to challenge the region's authoritarian rulers. "Imagine another country demanding that CNN be closed," 40-year-old Haseeb Mansour, who works for telecom operator Ooredoo, said.

Abdullah al-Muhanadi, a retired public sector worker shopping for groceries in Doha on Friday morning, said the boycott must be lifted before negotiations to resolve the dispute could start.

"There's a lot on the list that is simply not true or unreasonable, so how can we comply?" he said. "There are no IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) elements in Qatar and the agreement with Turkey is a long-standing diplomatic agreement so we cannot ask them to leave."

Last updated: June 23 2017 06:41 PM


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