Arab states issue ultimatum to Qatar: close Jazeera, curb ties with Iran

It says the demands will be monitored and involve monthly reports in the first year, then every three months the next year, then annually for 10 years, the official said.Qatar has long denied that it supports extremist groups and funds terrorism.Saudi Arabia regularly accuses Iran, its regional rival, of interference throughout the Middle East.Al-Jazeera, one of the largest news organisations in the world, responded to the demands by saying it “deplores” calls for it to be taken off air.Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also recalled their ambassadors from Qatar in March 2014, upset about a perceived interference in their affairs through the network and Qatar’s funding of Islamist movements.Earlier this week, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. was “mystified” as to why the Gulf states hadn’t yet issued such a list of demands.Having urged Qatar’s neighbors to come up with “reasonable and actionable” demands, the USA sought to distance itself from the crisis the day after the Arab countries issued a list that included several provisions Qatar had already declared it could not or would not accept. But Qatari officials didn’t budge from their previous insistence that they won’t sit down with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations to negotiate an end to the crisis while under siege.The diplomats emphasized that their countries’ position to sever diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar were the result of Doha’s support of terrorism and destabilisation of security and peace in the region.Al-Jazeera said the call to close down the organisation is “nothing but an attempt to silence the freedom of expression in the region and to suppress people’s right to information”. It described the move as “a very limited measure that could take place in any oil and gas operating company” to ensure uninterrupted supplies to customers.US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had warned that they wanted the list to be “reasonable”, and it’s highly unlikely the US will view this list as such, particularly the demand to expel Turkey, as it’s hard to imagine the US would view kicking out a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member from a base as a “reasonable” part of the GCC’s demands.It says “no employee, under any circumstances, (has) been asked to remain against their consent”.- Halt the development of a Turkish military base in the country.”The four states can afford to wait, but Qatar cannot”, said Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East expert at the London School of Economics.The four countries cut ties with Qatar earlier this month over allegations that it funds terrorism – an accusation United States president Donald Trump has echoed.The NHRC also called for an immediate and unconditional lifting of a blockade imposed by the Saudi-led bloc of countries against Qatar.-Curb diplomatic ties with Iran, and limit trade and commerce.According to the list, Qatar must refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and expel those now in Qatar, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs.Cutting ties to Iran would prove incredibly hard.