Qatar says Saudi-led list of demands not 'reasonable'

25 Juin, 2017, 13:15 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • A mosque is seen alone a coastline in Doha Qatar

"Behind the smokescreen, we believe that the blockading nations are seeking to isolate and punish Qatar for our independence and to retaliate against us for supporting the true aspirations of people against tyrants and dictators", Meshal bin Hamad al-Thani wrote.

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 nearly three weeks.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain chose to break ties with Qatar earlier this month, claiming that their Persian Gulf neighbor was funding terrorism.

However, Anwar Gargash, the UAE's state minister for foreign affairs, who is due to hold a press conference on Saturday, said Qatar should cede to the demands.

"The alternative, if Qatar does not handle seriously the demands presented to it by the Kuwaiti mediator, will not be an escalation, but separation". Yes, there is virtually no oil in Qatar but the signal to Iran and the threat to the Straight of Hormuz would put a huge bid into crude. Formally declare these entities as terror groups as per the list announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list. This list "does not meet those standards", he said.

US President Donald Trump has taken a hard line towards Qatar, accusing it of being a "high-level" sponsor of terrorism.

In the other official response Qatar Human Rights Committee said the demands represented "gross violations" of basic rights.

Among other things, Trump seeks to address the ongoing tensions between Arab countries and Qatar over allegations it supports extremist groups.

"Qatar leaking demands/ concerns of its neighbors & Egypt either attempt to undermine serious mediation or yet another sign of callous policy".

On Saturday, the head of the government communications office, Sheikh Saif Al Thani, said the demands were aimed at "limiting Qatar's sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy" and were not reasonable, as called for by the U.S. state department.

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The president also called on news outlets not to be hypocritical and not to ignore efforts to censor an global news organization, referring to Al Jazeera.

The move by Qatar's neighbours has left it under a de facto blockade.

Shut down news outlets that Qatar funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye.

"The US secretary of state recently called upon the blockading nations to produce a list of grievances that was 'reasonable and actionable'".

"We have noticed the European and American interest in this, especially as these countries are also affected by extremism and terrorism", the UAE minister said.

Turkey has a military base in Qatar that now houses about 90 Turkish soldiers.

Asked whether Qatar felt pressure to resolve the crisis quickly, he said: "Not at all". Hand over files detailing Qatar's prior contact with and support for opposition groups, and submit details of their personal information and the support Qatar has provided them.

Al-Jazeera was launched in 1996 with financial support from Qatar's rulers.

"This is something they want to, and should, work out for themselves", he added.

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