Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Arab States Send Qatar 13 Demands To End Crisis, Official Says

Five countries - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Egypt - cut ties with the Qatari government over allegations it was supporting militia groups to bolster instability in the Persian Gulf.

Four Arab states now boycotting Qatar for allegedly supporting terorrism have sent the country a lot of 13 demands, according to one of the countres' officials who spoke to Reuters.

Saudi Arabia and the other nations cited Qatar's relations with Iran, as well as what they say is Qatar's support for extremist groups such as Hamas, al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In its ongoing dispute with Qatar, ostensibly over the funding of terrorism, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has apparently created a list of demands for the world's largest LNG exporter.

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

On the freight side, Qatar Airways and other carriers that service the country are seeing a yet-unquantified surge in volumes, in response to disruptions in overland freight from Saudi Arabia.

Regarding Iran, the demand includes that Qatar must shut down diplomatic posts in Iran, expel from Qatar any members of the Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard, and only conduct trade and commerce with Iran that complies with US sanctions. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were eased but other sanctions remain in place. It is allied with Qatar and Iran in developing the massive offshore gas fields those two countries share. They are also asking Qatar to reduce ties with Iran and close a Turkish military base - all within 10 days. At this point, we are left with one simple question: were the actions really about their concerns regarding Qatar's alleged support of terrorism?

Qatar has been given just 10 days to comply or the offer becomes void. The nations said that their decision was based on the claims that Qatar supported Islamist groups and associated with terrorism.

Turkey's Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said the first Turkish ship carrying aid to Qatar has departed, in a bid to break the blockade imposed on Doha by a number of Gulf countries.

At the time of writing, the Qatari government has still not issued a statement regarding the demands of the Saudi-UAE-led alliance.

A veteran Saudi journalist has resigned from broadcaster Al-Jazeera to stand in line with the kingdom's anti-Qatar "policies and laws".

It is widely-speculated that Al-Jazeera, the Qatar state-run news agency, is also a focus of the crisis; it has a history of criticizing other Arab leaders and is accused of being a propaganda outlet.

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