Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states say Qatar must close down Al Jazeera as price of lifting trade embargo

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states has said Qatar must close international satellite news channel Al Jazeera as a condition of lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo.

The countries also insist their Persian Gulf neighbour must close down broadcaste must cut back diplomatic ties to Iran and shut a Turkish military base in Qatar.

In a 13-point list – presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis – the countries also demand that Qatar sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups including Hezbollah, al Qaida and the Islamic State group.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties to Qatar this month over allegations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism – an accusation that US President Donald Trump has echoed.

Those countries have now given Qatar ten days to comply with all of the demands, which include paying an unspecified sum in compensation.

Qatar’s government did not have any immediate reaction to the list. Nor did the United States. Earlier this week, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson had insisted Qatar’s neighbours provide a list of demands that was “reasonable and actionable”.

Though Qatar’s neighbours have focused their grievances on alleged Qatari support for extremism, they have also voiced loud concerns about Qatar’s relationship with Iran, the Shiite-led country that is a regional foe for Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-led nations.

The Iran provisions in the document say Qatar must shut down diplomatic posts in Iran, kick out from Qatar any members of the Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, and only conduct trade and commerce with Iran that complies with US sanctions.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were eased but other sanctions remain in place.

The demands regarding Al-Jazeera, the Doha-based satellite broadcaster, state that Qatar must also shut down all affiliates.

That presumably would mean Qatar would have to close down Al-Jazeera’s English-language affiliate. The broadcaster employs at least 100 journalists in the UK based at its studio’s in the Shard building in London.

Qatar’s neighbours accuse Al-Jazeera of fomenting unrest in the region and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

If Qatar agrees to comply, the list asserts that it will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect. For the following ten years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.

Comments

1 thought on “Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states say Qatar must close down Al Jazeera as price of lifting trade embargo”

  1. I hope media organisations worldwide will protest at this outrageous attempt to throttle such a valuable network.

    Will the UK government take a more robust stand about the blackmail of an ally by this group of authoritarian regimes?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 × five =

CLOSE
CLOSE