Saudi, allies demands not ‘realistic’: Qatar
Qatar says the demands presented by Saudi Arabia and three of its allies that have imposed a blockade on Doha are not “realistic”, as the unprecedented diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf region seems headed for a stalemate.
“We are reviewing these demands out of respect for… regional security and there will be an official response from our ministry of foreign affairs,” Sheikh Saif al-Thani, the director of Qatar’s government communications office, was further quoted as saying by Reuters on Saturday.
He added that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had recently called on the boycotters to draw up a list of grievances that was “reasonable and actionable.”
“This list does not satisfy that criteria,” Sheikh Saif added.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Doha had received “a paper, on June 22, containing demands from” Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt, confirming reports by news agencies on Friday that Doha had been given a copy of the 13-point demand list by Kuwait, a key mediator in the crisis, the day before.
“The State of Qatar is currently studying this paper, the demands contained therein and the foundations on which they were based, in order to prepare an appropriate response,” added the statement by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The wealthy Persian Gulf country is given 10 days to look into the demands and comply with them.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE severed ties with Qatar on June 5, officially accusing Doha of supporting “terrorism” and destabilizing the region. Qatar, however, has slammed the measures as unjustified, saying they are based on false claims and assumptions.
In their apparent bid to secure US support and that of Israel, Riyadh, Manama, Cairo and Abu Dhabi suspended all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, expelled its diplomats and ordered Qatari citizens to leave their countries.
To further pressure Qatar, Saudi Arabia has totally closed its land border with its tiny neighbor, through which much of Qatar’s food supply crossed. Iran and Turkey are now providing Qatar’s required food supplies. The Persian Gulf Arab states further gave Qataris two weeks to leave their countries and ordered home their own citizens living in Qatar.
The four Arab countries have demanded that Qatar shut down the Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster, sever diplomatic ties with Iran, close down a Turkish military base in Qatar and pay an unspecified sum in reparations.
Doha has reached out to the boycotters for de-escalating negotiations but has said it will not allow its neighbors to dictate its sovereign affairs. It has also said it will not enter negotiations unless the blockade is lifted.
The punitive measures against Qatar have drawn condemnation from rights groups, including Amnesty International, which says the diplomatic dispute has been toying with thousands of lives.
The coordinated move against Doha is spearheaded by Riyadh, which often manages to have its vassal states fall into line. Saudi Arabia itself is known as the main sponsor of the violent Wahhabi terrorists it has accused Qatar of supporting. Some analysts believe the Saudi anger is rather because Qatar acts more independently of Riyadh, including its relations with Iran.