UAE warns Qatar to accept demands or face ‘divorce’

The list – which apparently includes a call for Qatar to close down broadcaster Al-Jazeera – are the demands that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt want met to end a diplomatic and trade “blockade” of Qatar, lasting nearly three weeks.The list also says that Qatar must sever all ties with “terrorist organizations” including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State, al-Qaida, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as Nusra Front, and label them as terrorist groups.Also, not only must Qatar shut down the Doha-based satellite broadcaster, the list says, but also all of its affiliates.Washington, which is a close military ally of countries on both sides of the dispute, has called for a resolution.According to the list, Qatar must stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from the four countries and revoke citizenship for existing nationals from those countries where it violates their laws. After the Egyptian military ousted Morsi, Egypt revoked Al Jazeera’s press credentials and imprisoned three of its employees for collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood.”There’s a lot on the list that is simply not true or unreasonable, so how can we comply?” he said.”Undermining serious diplomacy will lead to parting of ways”, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.The demands from the Saudis, the Emiratis, the Egyptians and the Bahrainis amount to a call for a sweeping overhaul of Qatar’s foreign policy and natural gas-funded influence peddling in the region.Although it avoids critical coverage of Qatar and the royal family, Al Jazeera reports on various ideological groups and was a major source of news as the Arab Spring that began in late 2010 toppled dictatorships throughout the Arab world.”No country with any self respect can swallow the demands listed by Saudi Arabia and its allies”.Beirut-based political analyst George Alam said Qatar is unlikely to agree to the demands.The list of demands was presented to Qatar by Kuwait and was released more than two weeks after Saudi Arabia led a coordinated freeze by nine countries on diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar.Qatar shares a massive, lucrative offshore natural gas field with Iran and severing ties would be both financially painful and hard.United States president Donald Trump has also accused Qatar of supporting extremist organisations.The list included conditions that the gas-rich nation had already insisted would never be met, including shutting down Al-Jazeera.A senior UAE government official accused Qatar of leaking the list in an attempt to undermine mediation efforts and regional stability. Complying would force Qatar to bring its policies in line with the regional vision of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest economy and gatekeeper of Qatar’s only land border.”If there is such a demand, it will mean interference in bilateral ties”, Isik said, suggesting instead that Turkey might continue to bolster its presence in Qatar. Qatar must also formally declare all of those entities terrorist groups, a measure more stringent than even the current US policy approach to the Muslim Brotherhood. The countries, along with Yemen and the Maldives, abruptly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed economic sanctions on the country, accusing it of supporting terrorism.The current crisis followed a visit to Saudi Arabia by Donald Trump.Earlier this month, Al-Jazeera said that it was being targeted with hacking attempts, days after CNN reported that hackers pushed out a fake news report through the Qatar News Agency to heighten tensions.