Saudi, allies list demands to end Qatar blockade: report

23 June 2017

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.

Associated Press and Reuters news agencies reported it obtained the list from unnamed officials from one of the countries involved in isolating Qatar.

Not only that, if Qatar agrees to comply, the countries will audit compliance once every month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect.

For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.

The document does not specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.

List of demands by Saudi Arabia, other Arab nations, according to reports, include:

  • Qatar scaling down all diplomatic ties with Iran and ending military and intelligence cooperation with Iran, and complying with US sanctions in trade;
  • Shut down Turkish military base that is currently being built, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatari territories;
  • Sever all ties with Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh Al-Sham (formerly known as Nusra Front) and Lebanon's Hezbollah and formally declare those entities as terrorist groups;
  • Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, US and other countries;
  • Hand over "terrorist figures," fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin and freeze their assets;
  • Shut down Al Jazeera Network and its affiliate stations;
  • End interference in sovereign countries' internal affairs and stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain;
  • Qatar should pay reparations (which will be decided later in coordination with Qatar) and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by its policies in recent years;
  • Qatar must align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as in economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014;
  • Submit details of all opposition members that Qatar supported in the past and end all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain;
  • Shut down all news outlets that it funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc;
  • Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid; and
  • Consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.

Turkey's defence minister Fikri Isik said any demand to close its military base in Qatar would amount to interference in its relations with the Gulf state and that i has no plans to review its military base in Qatar.

Isik, however, told NTV that he had not yet seen a demand for the base to be shut.

"The base in Qatar is both a Turkish base and one that will preserve the security of Qatar and the region," Isik said in an interview on Friday.

"Re-evaluating the base agreement with Qatar is not on our agenda."

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra said the list is "definitely going to be rejected by Qatar".

"Qatar has said it will only look into the demands once the sanctions are lifted," he said, adding that Qatar had already said that closing Al Jazeera was off the table.

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