International desk – Four neighbouring states that boycotted Qatar has asked the country to comply with a list of 13-point demands, including cutting diplomatic ties with Iran, in 10 days.
CNN reported that some of the demands, handed on Friday nearly three weeks after Saudi Arab, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt boycotted Qatar, may infuriate Doha and exacerbate the region’s worst crisis in decades.
The neighbours accused Qatar of having links with radical extremist organizations that include Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and Islamic State group.
The demand also includes a demand to shut down the Al Jazeera news network — and had given the country 10 days to comply with the demands.
The four countries also asked Qatar to halt the development of a Turkish military base in the country, cut ties to extremist organizations, stop interfering in the four countries’ affairs and stop the practice of giving Qatari nationality to citizens of the four countries.
According to CNN broadcaster, Al Jazeera said any call to close down the network were an attempt to silence freedom of expression in the region.
“We assert our right to practice our journalism professionally without bowing to pressure from any government or authority and we demand that governments respect the freedom of media to allow journalists to continue to do their jobs free of intimidation, threats, and fear-mongering,” it said in a statement.
The Arab nations cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region.
The four countries say that the list will become void if Qatar fails to comply in the 10-day period.
Qatari officials have not yet responded to requests for comment but said they would issue a statement later in the day.
On Monday, Qatar’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said the country would only begin negotiations to end the crisis after measures taken against the country were lifted.
“We can not expect an end to the crisis, solutions are not yet developed and the countries besieged Qatar have not provided any clear reasons for the steps they have taken,” he was quoted to have said by CNN.
Qatar, which shares its only land border with Saudi Arabia, has rejected accusations it supports terrorism, calling them “unjustified” and “baseless.”
A senior UAE government official accused Qatar of leaking the list in an attempt to undermine mediation efforts and regional stability.
“The leakage will further exasperate & prolong the Qatar crisis. Undermining serious diplomacy will lead to parting of ways,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, twitted.
The 13 demands in full
- Curb diplomatic ties with Iran and close its diplomatic missions there. Expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off any joint military cooperation with Iran. Only trade and commerce with Iran that complies with US and international sanctions will be permitted.
- Sever all ties to “terrorist organisations”, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, al-Qaida and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Formally declare those entities as terrorist groups.
- Shut down al-Jazeera and its affiliate stations.
- Shut down news outlets that Qatar funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye.
- Immediately terminate the Turkish military presence in Qatar and end any joint military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatar.
- Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, the US and other countries.
- Hand over “terrorist figures” and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.
- End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.
- Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over all files detailing Qatar’s prior contacts with and support for those opposition groups.
- Pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other, financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.
- 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.
- Align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as on economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014.
- Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid.