New York - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have made public their long-awaited list of demands to Qatar as a condition to easing their blockade on the gas-rich country, according to the Associated Press.
New York – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have made public their long-awaited list of demands to Qatar as a condition to easing their blockade on the gas-rich country, according to the Associated Press.
The list of demands includes the closure of Al Jazeera network, severing diplomatic ties to Iran and shuttering the Turkish military base in Qatar. The list also demands that Qatar refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and expel those currently in Qatar.
The newly formed anti-Qatari front also demands 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 U.S. ( a tacit reference to Hamas); and provide detailed information about opposition figures that Qatar has funded, that Qatar sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups, including Hezbollah, al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.
In addition to abiding by these demands, Qatar would be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.
The release of the demands was done less than 48 hours after the American administration cast doubt on the through motives behind the decision of the four countries to severe their diplomatic ties with Qatar in early June.
On June 4, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates and Egypt announced their unprecedented decision to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, citing that country’s alleged support of terrorism. Qatar has vigorously denied the charges and said they are based on “fabricated allegations.”
Heather Nuaert, spokesperson the US State Department expressed on Tuesday US frustration over the difficulty in reaching a resolution as well as Saudi Arabia’s lack of transparency regarding the proof it claims to have regarding Qatar’s ties to terrorist funding and to Iran.
“Now that it’s been over two weeks since the embargo started, we are mystified that the Gulf States have not released to the public, nor to the Qataris, the details about the claims that they are making toward Qatar,” she said during a press briefing. “The more time goes by, the more doubt is raised about the actions taken by Saudi Arabia and the (United Arab Emirates).”
“At this point we are left with one simple question: Were the actions really about their concerns regarding Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism, or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC countries?” Nauert elaborated.
Following the decision of the four countries to severe their ties with Qatar and shut down their land, sea and air borders with it, Rex Tillerson, U.S Secretary of State, spoke against the blockade, pointing out that it hinders American interests in the region and their efforts to fight ISIS.
“I call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar,” Tillerson said at the time.
“There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade. We’re seeing shortages of food. Families are being forcibly separated, and children pulled out of school. We believe these are unintended consequences.”
At the time of writing, the Qatari government has still not issued a statement regarding the demands of the Saudi-UAE-led alliance.