Qatar has dismissed a list of demands submitted by four Arab nations as neither reasonable or actionable.
“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combatting terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy,” said Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of the Qatari government’s communications office, in a statement on Friday.
“The US Secretary of State recently called upon the blockading nations to produce a list of grievances that was ‘reasonable and actionable’. The British Foreign Secretary asked that the demands be ‘measured and realistic.’ This list does not satisfy that criteria,” added the statement.
Qatar says it is reviewing the demands and is preparing an official response after confirming the receipt of a document containing demands from several Arab countries that cut ties with it and imposed a blockade against it earlier this month amid a major diplomatic crisis.
The list was received by Qatar’s ministry of foreign affairs on June 22, the state-run Qatar News Agency reported early on Saturday.
“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 to it and hand it over to the state of Kuwait,” QNA said, citing a statement by the ministry of foreign affairs.
Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the US, also criticised the list of demands.
List of demands
Kuwait has been acting as a mediator to defuse the crisis that erupted on June 5 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt announced they were severing relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting “terrorism”.
The four countries have not provided any evidence, and Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations as baseless.
Earlier on Friday, reports emerged that the Saudi-led bloc had given Qatar a 10 days to comply with 13 demands, which included shutting down the Al Jazeera Media Network, closing a Turkish military base and scaling down ties with Iran.
In the document, the countries also demanded that Qatar sever all alleged ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups, including Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and ISIL (also known as ISIS).
The document also states that Qatar must consent to monthly compliance audits in the first year after agreeing to the demands, followed by quarterly audits in the second year, and annual audits in the following 10 years.
The list also includes a demand that Qatar pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses allegedly caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years.
The document did not specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.
Amir Handjani, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Al Jazeera that the demands are a “non-starter”.
“This is a very aggressive position that the Saudi-coalition is taking. I think it’s an opening gambit in a long, protracted negotiation,” he said.
“The Saudis are signalling to the Qataris that they are willing to dig in. And I think the Qataris are not going to cave. So I expect tensions to rise.”
Handjani said that the demands amounted to a request that Qatar gives up its sovereignty.
“I am sure as temperatures rise, other countries such as the United States, the UK, the French – who have longstanding ties with the GCC countries … will step in and try and play a mediating role,” he said.
Source: Al Jazeera News