Arab states send Qatar 13 demands to end crisis

Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have issued a list of demands to end the crisis which include shutting down Al Jazeera, cutting back diplomatic ties to Iran and severing links with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, left, talks to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince and Deputy Commander in Chief of the Emirates Armed Forces.Besides the two countries, Egypt and Bahrain also had a hand in the list.

Four Arab states boycotting Qatar over alleged support for terrorism have sent Doha a list of 13 demands including closing the Al Jazeera network and reducing ties to their regional adversary Iran, an official of one of the four countries said.

The demands are aimed at ending the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years appear designed to quash a two-decade-old foreign policy in which Qatar has punched well above its weight, striding the stage as a peace broker, often in conflicts in Muslim lands.

The list, compiled by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain as the price for ending the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years, also demands the closing of a Turkish military base in Qatar, the official said.

Qatar must also announce it is severing ties with “terrorist, ideological and sectarian organisations including the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Jabhat Fateh al Sham, formerly Al Qaeda's branch in Syria,” he said, and surrender all designated terrorists on its territory.

TRT World's Soraya Lennie reports from Doha.

Qatar won’t negotiate under boycott

The countries that imposed the sanctions accuse Qatar of funding terrorism, fomenting regional unrest and drawing too close to their enemy Iran. Qatar rejects those accusations and says it is being punished for refusing to hew to regional powers' policy of supporting authoritarian, military and hereditary rulers.

Qatari officials did not reply immediately to requests for comment. But on Monday, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani said Qatar would not negotiate with the four states unless they lifted their blockade.

TRT World's Editor-at-Large Ahmed al Burai discusses the implications of the demands.

The countries have given Doha 10 days to comply, failing which the list becomes "void", the official said without elaborating. The demands were handed to Qatar by Kuwait, which is mediating in the dispute, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The demands, handed to Qatar by mediator Kuwait also require that Qatar stop interfering in the four countries' domestic and foreign affairs and stop a practise of giving Qatari nationality to citizens of the four countries, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Qatar must pay reparations to these countries for any damage or costs incurred over the past few years because of Qatari policies, he added. Any resulting agreement to comply with the demands will be monitored, with monthly reports in the first year, then every three months the next year, then annually for 10 years, the official said without elaborating.

The uncompromising demands leave little prospect for a quick end to the biggest diplomatic crisis for years between Sunni Arab Gulf states, regional analysts said.

"The demands are so aggressive that it makes it close to impossible to currently see a resolution of that conflict," Olivier Jakob, a strategist at Switzerland-based oil consultancy Petromatrix, said.

Support for Qatar

US President Donald Trump has taken a tough stance on Qatar, accusing it of being a "high-level" sponsor of terrorism, but he has also offered help to the parties in the dispute to resolve their differences.

Turkey has supported Qatar during the three-week-old crisis. 

It sent its first ship carrying food aid to Qatar and dispatched a small contingent of soldiers and armoured vehicles there on Thursday, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Saudi Arabia's leaders on calming tension in the region.

TRTWorld and agencies