Qatar rejects demands of Saudi-led "siege countries"

24 Jun 2017


Qatar today said it has dismissed a list of demands received from Saudi Arabia-led bock as neither reasonable or actionable, but said it is reviewing the document and preparing 'an appropriate response'.

"This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combatting terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar's sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy," Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of the Qatari government's communications office, said in a statement on Friday.

"The US Secretary of State recently called upon the blockading nations to produce a list of grievances that was 'reasonable and actionable'. The British Foreign Secretary asked that the demands be 'measured and realistic.' This list does not satisfy that criteria," added the statement.

Qatar, however, said it is preparing an official response to the document containing the demands of several Arab countries that have cut ties with it and imposed a blockade against it earlier this month.

State-run Qatar News Agency said Qatar's ministry of foreign affairs received the list on Friday.

"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 to it and hand it over to the state of Kuwait," QNA said, citing a statement by the ministry of foreign affairs.

Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar's ambassador to the US, criticised the list of demands.

''The list of demands circulated in media clearly indicates that this dispute is not about our neighbors false terrorism allegations, AlThani tweeted early in the morning.

''The list is an attempt to suppress free media and freedom of speech. And infringe upon our sovereignty and punish Qatar for its independence,'' he added.

Kuwait has been acting as a mediator to defuse the crisis that erupted on June 5 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt announced they were severing relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting "terrorism".

Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries that have cut ties with Qatar over what they claimed Qatar's meddling in their internal affairs have reportedly issued a list of demands, including the shutting down of Al Jazeera network and ending Qatar's ties with Iran, before they decide to end the blockade.

The 13-point demand also include Qatar severing its alleged links with the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups, including Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and ISIS groups, news agencies Associated Press and Reuters reported citing unnamed officials from one of the countries.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar this month alleging that the country funds terrorism an accusation that Qatar denies.

The countries want Qatar to shut down Al Jazeera and all its affiliates and other news outlets that Qatar funds, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed and Middle East Eye.

They demand that Qatar refuse to naturalise citizens from the four countries and "revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries' laws".

Besides, Qatar must shut down diplomatic posts in Iran, expel any members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and only conduct trade and commerce with Iran that complies with US sanctions.

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