Key demands that would resolve Qatar crisis

A deadline was extended Monday for Qatar to accept 13 demands by several Arab states in return for lifting a de facto blockade.

Published: 03rd July 2017 11:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2017 11:57 AM   |  A+A-

In this Jan. 15, 2015 a new Qatar Airways Airbus A350 approaches the gate at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. (File | AP)

By AFP

DOHA: A deadline was extended Monday for Qatar to accept 13 demands by several Arab states in return for lifting a de facto blockade.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, cut ties with Qatar on June 5 and issued their demands on June 22. The 10-day deadline was extended by 48 hours at the request of the Kuwaiti emir who has been acting as mediator in the crisis.

Here are the key demands:

- Close Al-Jazeera -

The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel has long been a source of conflict between Doha and its neighbours, who accuse it of bias and fomenting unrest.

One of the world's largest news organisations, it has been repeatedly banned.

In this Jan. 1, 2015, file photo, staff members of Al-Jazeera International work
at the news studio in Doha, Qatar. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal, File)

Egypt accuses it of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which it blames for violence after the military ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

The United Nations said the demand to shut Al-Jazeera and "other affiliated media outlets" was "an unacceptable attack on the right to freedom of expression and opinion".

- Quit backing Muslim Brotherhood -

The Arab countries also demand that Doha cut ties with groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia and its allies blacklist as a "terrorist" organisation.

They also called on Qatar to hand over opposition figures based in Doha.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson walks with ‎Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed
bin Abdulrahman Al Thani at the State Department in Washington. (File|AP)

The emirate has long hosted exiled Brotherhood figures including the movement's spiritual leader, Egyptian preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and Khaled Meshaal, former head of the Brotherhood-linked Palestinian movement Hamas.

Western governments have concerns about the Brotherhood but have not listed it as a foreign terrorist organisation -- nor has the UN.

- Close Turkish base -

Another key demand is the closure of a Turkish military base in Qatar set to give Turkey a new foothold in the Gulf. 

Turkey sees Qatar as its top Gulf ally but is also keen to improve relations with regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia.

However, Turkey's parliament approved a troop deployment to the Qatar base just two days after the crisis broke out.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the demands were "against international law".

- Downgrade Iran ties -

Riyadh and its allies want Doha to downgrade its warm diplomatic ties with Tehran, Saudi Arabia's key regional rival.

They accuse Qatar of supporting Iranian-backed groups such as Lebanon's Hezbollah movement -- a charge Doha denies.

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran sit on opposing sides in conflicts in Syria and Yemen, where Qatar was part of an alliance fighting Iran-backed Huthi rebels until the crisis broke out.

Riyadh regularly accuses Tehran of interfering across the Middle East, linking it to instability in the kingdom's east, where minority Shiites live.

But not all Riyadh's Gulf neighbours share its hostility towards Iran. 

Oman and Kuwait retain warm diplomatic ties with Tehran, while the UAE hosts a large Iranian expat population and has strong commercial ties with the Islamic Republic.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said his country wants to bolster relations with Doha. 

When Saudi Arabia closed the emirate's only land border -- vital for its food imports -- Iran shipped in tonnes of fruits and vegetables.

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