Arab states want obedience from Qatar, alternative is parting ways - UAE minister

Having urged Qatar's neighbours to come up with "reasonable and actionable" demands, the USA has sought to distance itself from the crisis.

"The state of Qatar is now 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", the Qatar News Agency said, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He recalled that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said on Wednesday that Washington wanted a clear list of grievances that was "reasonable and actionable". "This list does not satisfy that criteria".

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Egypt and several other nations suddenly announced that they were severing diplomatic ties and transportation links with Qatar on June 5, accusing the Gulf monarchy of financing terrorism and meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.

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.

Among the demands are that Qatar shutter its Al Jazeera news network and cut back ties to Iran. The ultimatum was quickly rejected by Qatar's ally, Turkey, and blasted as an assault on free speech by Al Jazeera, the Qatari broadcaster.

After the list was published, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Qarqash accused the Qatari government of leaking the document to journalists. "It would be wiser that (Qatar) deal seriously with the demands and concerns of the neighbors or a divorce will take place", he wrote on Twitter.

"The four countries that are part of that - we believe it's a family issue and that they should work [it] out", said Mr Spicer.

It added that it is preparing an official response after confirming the receipt of the demands.

Qatar's neighbours insisted the 13-point list of demands was their bottom line, not a starting point for negotiations. "It's about media freedom, the right of the people in the region to receive information and people around the world to get information about the Middle East", he added.

Kuwait is helping mediate the dispute as is the United States, for which it has posed a challenging test since Qatar hosts a base housing the headquarters of USA air power in the Middle East as well as 11,000 troops. US President Donald Trump, however, has made statements siding with Saudi Arabia in the crisis.

- Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.

- Curb diplomatic ties with Iran, and limit trade and commerce.

The United States and the European Union have called for unity in the Gulf.

According to the expert, only three of the demands are possible.

The uncompromising demands leave little prospect for a quick end to the biggest diplomatic crisis for years between Sunni Arab Gulf states, regional analysts said. Ibrahim Fraihat, Conflict Resolution Professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, forecast a prolonged stand-off. Nonetheless, reports have circulated for the past couple of months that Trump and his team are working hard behind the scenes to publicly bring the two together in order to more solidly crystallize what has since turned out to be a very fraught and disunited anti-Iranian coalition.

This list "does not meet those standards", he said.

  • Anthony Vega