Arab states give Qatar deadline and list of demands: Shutter Al Jazeera …

Intelligence and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference

Intelligence and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have sent a 13-point list of demands apparently aimed at dismantling their tiny but wealthy neighbor's two decade-old interventionist foreign policy which has angered them for sometime now.

They also include severing ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Jabhat Fateh al Sham, formerly al Qaeda's branch in Syria, and the surrender of all designated terrorists on Qatari territory.

As well as cutting diplomatic ties, Qatar's neighbours closed their air space to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate's only land border, vital for its food imports.

Qatar must pay reparations to these countries for any damage or costs incurred over the past few years because of Qatari policies, he added.

If Qatar agrees to comply, the list asserts that it will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect.

Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The list also says Qatar must immediately close Turkey's military base in Qatar and end military cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member.

The network's critics say the Arabic-language services in particular advance Qatar's goals by promoting Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood that pose a populist threat to rulers in other Arab countries.

"We in the network believe that any call for closing down Al-Jazeera is nothing but an attempt to silence the freedom of expression in the region and to suppress people's right to information", the broadcaster said in a statement.

Pointing to last year's visit by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Tehran and Riyadh as mediator after the Saudis cut Iran ties in January 2016, Durrani said his country is ready to lend a helping hand if it can. The demands were also likely to elicit Qatari objections that its neighbors are trying to dictate its sovereign affairs by imposing such far-reaching requirements.

Iran is shipping more than 1,000 tons of fruits and vegetables to Qatar every day.

The Iran provisions in the document say Qatar must close diplomatic posts in Iran, expel any members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard, and only conduct trade and commerce with Tehran that complies with US and worldwide sanctions. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were eased but other sanctions remain in place. It is not known to have a presence in Qatar.

The Arab nations cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region.

Al-Jazeera English's managing director, Giles Trendle, said it was like "Germany demanding Britain to close down the BBC", in a video posted on social media. Qatar shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Iran which supplies the small nation that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup its wealth.

Qatar's state-funded satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera became hugely popular across the Middle East, but has long infuriated Arab governments used to exercising firm control over the media in their countries.

For the coming 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance based on the list of demands, the report said.

There's also a demand for Qatar to stop funding other news outlets, including Arabi21, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye. But on Monday, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Qatar would not negotiate with the four states unless they lifted their measures against Doha.

Latest News