Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Al-Jazeera manager denounces Gulf demands for its shutdown

Andrew Cummings | 26 June, 2017, 02:02

ARAB nations blockading Qatar have issued a list of 13 demands which includes the closure of the Al Jazeera television channel, the Gulf emirate said yesterday.

Anwar Gargash, the UAE's state minister for foreign affairs, said Qatar should yield to the demands.

Bahrain and Egypt have cut ties to Doha since June 5, after Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani was reported to have made statements on the state news agency supporting Iran. Qatar must also formally declare all of those entities terrorist groups, a measure more stringent than even the current US policy approach to the Muslim Brotherhood.

"The UK calls upon the Gulf states to find a way of deescalating the situation and lifting the current embargo and restrictions which are having an impact on the everyday lives of people in the region", said Johnson.

- Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.

Qatar confirmed Friday it had received the list and was studying the demands.

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 USA; and provide detailed information about opposition figures that Qatar has funded, ostensibly in Saudi Arabia and the other nations. "They are trying to impose their views on how the issues need to be dealt with in the Middle East".

Qatar denies that it supports groups such as IS and al Qaeda, although it recognises that members of groups such as Hamas are present in its territory. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply, reports The Guardian. The demand to close the base will be hard for Qatar to meet, as it's part of a 2014 diplomatic agreement between both countries.

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The list also includes a demand that Qatar pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses allegedly caused by Qatar's policies in recent years.

Faced with a sweeping set of demands, Qatar insisted Friday it can indefinitely survive the economic and diplomatic steps its neighbors have taken to try to pressure it into compliance, even as a top Emirati official warned the tiny country to brace for a long-term economic squeeze.

The last point on the list calls for the establishment of a 10-year mechanism, that would operate monthly for the first year, to ensure Qatar is complying with the agreement.

- Shut down the Al Jazeera media network and its affiliates.

Qatar's National Human Rights Committee said some of the demands violate worldwide human rights conventions, according to a Qatar News Agency story tweeted Friday by the foreign ministry.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are at odds over a number of regional issues, including Iran's nuclear program and what Saudis see as Tehran's growing influence in the kingdom's sphere of influence, especially in Syria, Lebanon and neighboring Yemen.

If diplomacy doesn't work "and Qatar is not ready to acknowledge and address its support for extremism and terrorism, we will have to come and say you go your way", Gargash said.

Al-Jazeera, the Qatari media outlet covering regional and world affairs reportedly targeted in the demands, has aired critical coverage of different dictatorships in the region and the resistance movements against them.

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