Saudi Arabia and its allies presented Qatar with a list of steep demands to end the crisis that has roiled the Gulf for almost three weeks, as diplomats predicted the tiny Gulf state would likely refuse to comply.
The 13 requirements include shutting the Al-Jazeera TV network, cutting back diplomatic ties with Iran, severing relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and ending Turkey’s military presence in Qatar, according to two western diplomats in the region familiar with the document, who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak publicly. Kuwait, which is mediating the dispute, handed the list to the Qatari government, they said.
Pressure had been mounting on the Saudi-led bloc, which includes Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to finalize what it wants from Qatar to end the crisis, and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on June 21 he hoped the demands “will be reasonable and actionable.” One of the diplomats said the list clearly falls short of that, while the other said it was meant to be the basis of secret negotiations rather than being published.
“The demands are severe and and show resolve and determination when it comes to what’s at stake,” said Sami Nader, head of the Beirut-based Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs. “This is a bargaining position to start talks. That is why they upped the stakes.”
The list of demands was first reported by the Associated Press.
The Saudi alliance severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar on June 5, accusing their fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member of supporting terrorism. The move split families apart, disrupted trade, and threatens to alter long-standing geopolitical alliances. Qatar, which views the action as an illegal siege, has denied the charges.