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Qatar’s neighbours issue steep list of demands to end crisis

05:46 AM May 30, 2019 | Free Press Journal Correspondant

Washington: Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands to end the crisis, insisting that their Persian Gulf neighbour shutter Al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran and close down a Turkish military base in Qatar. In a 13-point list presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis the countries also demand that Qatar sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups including Hezbollah, al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties to Qatar this month over allegations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism an accusation that President Donald Trump has echoed. Those countries have now given Qatar 10 days to comply with all of the demands, which include paying an unspecified sum in compensation. Qatari officials in Doha did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP. But the list included conditions that the gas-rich nation had already insisted would never be met, including shutting down Al-Jazeera.

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Also read: Lift blockade before Gulf crisis talks, demands Qatar

Qatar’s government has said it won’t negotiate until Arab nations lift their blockade. 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. Only a day earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had warned the demands must be “reasonable and actionable.” The US
issued that litmus test amid frustration at how long it was taking Saudi Arabia and others to formalize a list of demands,
complicating U.S. efforts to bring about a resolution to the worst Gulf diplomatic crisis in years.

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According to the list, Qatar must refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and expel those currently in Qatar, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs. They are also demanding that Qatar hand over all individuals who are wanted by those four countries for terrorism; stop funding any extremist entities that are designated as terrorist groups by the US; and provide detailed information about opposition figures that Qatar has funded, ostensibly in Saudi Arabia and the other nations. Qatar vehemently denies funding or supporting extremism. But the country acknowledges that it allows members of some extremist groups such as Hamas to reside in Qatar, arguing that fostering dialogue with those groups is key to resolving global conflicts.

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