Saudi Arabia demands Qatar close Al Jazeera, sever ties with Iran

Henrietta Strickland
June 24, 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.

As well as shutting down Al Jazeera, which Qatar has previously said it would not do, the boycotting five Arab countries also want it to cut diplomatic ties with Iran.

It also insisted that Qatar expel citizens of the four countries from its territory, hand over any individuals suspected of terrorism, and provide detailed information about opposition figures that it has funded in other states.

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

Qatari officials have not yet responded to requests for comment but said they would issue a statement later in the day. The network's critics say it advances Qatar's goals by promoting Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood that pose a populist threat to rulers in other Arab countries.

The interview was broadcast as the ongoing Gulf diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its neighbours shows no signs of abating.

Reuters said the demands are likely to infuriate Doha and exacerbate the region's worst crisis in decades.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have been suspected of extensively using cyber warfare and social media propaganda campaigns as tools to target Doha.

On June 5 Saudi Arabia, along with a number of its allies, severed diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Doha has since rejected accusations it supports terrorism, calling them "unjustified" and "baseless".

Isik stated that "no one should be disturbed by" the Turkish military presence in Qatar. The Turkish military instructors left for Qatar June 19.

In addition, the country must locate and extradite all individuals now facing terrorism charges in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the other signatory states.

Complying would force Qatar to bring its policies in line with the regional vision of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's biggest economy and gatekeeper of Qatar's only land border.

Saudi Arabia has severed all land, sea and air links with Qatar, and Qatar Airlines has had to cancel or reroute some flights that usually use the airspace of the boycotting nations.

Ankara and Washington have also been trying to help broker a solution to the crisis within the Gulf Cooperation Council which groups Qatar with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Qatari envoy highlighted that Qatar has always believed that dialogue, negotiation and compromise are solutions to violence through an "open-door" foreign policy.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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