The four Arab countries involved in a diplomatic row with Qatar have given the oil-rich nation a 10-day ultimatum to meet 13 demands, including shutting down Al Jazeera media network, before normalcy can be restored.
The four countries are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain.
Reuters said the demands are likely to infuriate Doha and exacerbate the region’s worst crisis in decades.
Al Jazeera reported that the list was presented to Qatar by neighbouring Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator in the crisis.
It was released more than two weeks after Saudi Arabia led a coordinated freeze by nine countries on diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar.
Apart from shutting Al Jazeera and its affiliates, other conditions given to Qatar are: halting the development of a Turkish military base in the country, reducing diplomatic ties with Iran, cutting ties to terrorist organisations, stop interfering in the four countries’ affairs and stopping the practice of giving Qatari nationality to citizens of the four countries.
Qatar on Saturday denounced the ultimatum as unreasonable and an impingement on the emirate’s sovereignty.
The list was received by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 22, the state-run Qatar News Agency said.
“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy,” Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of the Qatari government’s communications office, said in a statement on Friday.
Qatar also said it is reviewing the demands and is preparing an official response after confirming the receipt of the document containing the demands.
“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.
The Arab nations cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilising the region.
Qatar — which shares its only land border with Saudi Arabia — has rejected the accusations, calling them “unjustified and baseless.”
Turkey Supports Qatar, Slams Arab Nations
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has welcomed Qatar’s stand on a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and its allies, saying that the ultimatum is “against international law”.
Qatar has rejected the accusations and said the measures are “unjustified”.
“We welcome [Qatar’s position] because we consider the 13-point list against international law,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency on Sunday.
Turkey has offered support to Qatar after Saudi Arabia and several other countries severed ties with Qatar over accusations of funding terrorism and fomenting regional instability.
Additional reports at Al Jazeera.