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Gulf crisis heats up as Qatar receives list of demands

26 June 2017

Other allies, including Bahrain and Egypt, followed.

Although Reuters was told about the contents of the ultimatum by an official from one of the sanctioning countries, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash accused Qatar of leaking the demands.

The four countries have given Doha just 10 days to meet the demands, and say that the list will become void if it fails to do so.

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

However, the Arab states involved in the crisis are all close allies of the U.S., while the largest USA base in the Middle East is in Qatar.

Al-Jazeera, one of the largest news organizations in the world, responded to the demands by saying it "deplores" calls for it to be taken off air.

Qatar has been handed a 13-point list of demands to end the diplomatic crisis.

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"Since June 5 exports to Qatar have amounted to $32.5 million".

"Any call to close to down or curtail Al-Jazeera is nothing but an attempt to muzzle a voice of democracy in the region and suppress freedom of expression", he said by phone.

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.

Qatar should officially reduce its diplomatic representation with Iran and close down its offices in the country; all members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards and those linked to them must depart Qatar; dealing with Iran should be restricted to commercial exchange allowed under worldwide and USA sanctions and those that don't harm the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council; cut off any military or intelligence cooperation with Iran.

Those four countries were among those that imposed unprecedented sanctions against Qatar earlier this month over the country's alleged support of terrorism.

Qatar must also align itself politically, economically and otherwise with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the regional intergovernmental union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, save for Iraq.

"We can not just have demands such as 'The Qataris know what we want from them, they have to stop this or that, they have to be monitored by a foreign monitoring mechanism, ' " he said.

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These include calls for Doha to cut any ties to groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State organisation, Al-Qaeda and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement. CBS points out that some of the states aligned against Qatar are themselves guilty of supporting extremist groups, so there could be a degree of projection or distraction involved in making Qatar suffer for their mutual sins. Qatar denies the accusations and countered that Saudi Arabia is seeking to dominate smaller states within the region.

Iran, looking to capitalize on the situation, has already sent supplies to Qatar, as a sign of support and a gesture of goodwill.

"Maybe the fate of Al Jazeera will depend on talks between the government of Qatar and its neighbours".

Tillerson has sought to mediate but the White House has been more hands-off, describing the diplomatic crisis as a "family issue" on Friday.

The list also demands that Qatar stop funding a host of other news outlets including Arabi21 and Middle East Eye. For Qatar, it will be very hard to comply with if the country wants to preserve its sovereignty.

If Qatar agreed to the conditions its compliance would be closely monitored for 10 years.

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Gulf crisis heats up as Qatar receives list of demands