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UAE warns Qatar to accept demands or face 'divorce'

24 Juin 2017

"The four states can afford to wait, but Qatar cannot", said Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East expert at the London School of Economics.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has held a series of telephone calls with both Riyadh and Doha in recent days to help resolve the crisis. "Re-evaluating the base agreement with Qatar is not on our agenda".

Riyadh has said the vessel, seized last Friday, was carrying explosives and those captured meant to conduct a "terrorist act" in Saudi territorial waters.

Kuwait has been acting as a mediator to defuse the crisis that erupted on June 5 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt announced they were severing relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting "terrorism".

Aya Batrawi, a Dubai-based correspondent for the Associated Press.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, maintains the U.S. Central Command's regional forward operating base in Qatar and has just signed a deal reportedly worth $12 billion to sell F-15 fighter jets to Doha. The document doesn't specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.

The countries delivered a list of demands to end the embargo Thursday and gave Qatar 10 days to comply with the ultimatum.

In tweets in Arabic, he said that the Qatari leakage was "a teenager move that we are used to seeing in the brother".

It is not surprising that Qatar would be told to sever all ties with Iran, suspend military cooperation, and expel any members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps now in Qatar because the emirate's relationship with Iran has always been a sore point with the Saudi-led alliance of Sunni Muslim nations.

The list could be a non-starter as the Qatari government has said it will not negotiate unless the Arab neighbors lift their blockade first. The move has left Qatar, whose only land border is shared with Saudi Arabia, under a de facto blockade by its neighbors.

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Underscoring the growing seriousness of the crisis, state-run Qatar Petroleum acknowledged Friday that some critically important employees "may have been asked to postpone" trips overseas "for operational reasons" due to the embargo.

Some wonder whether all this pressure on Qatar might backfire, driving the country into an alliance with Russia, Turkey and Iran - one with very different objectives from the U.S. Qatar is still gauging its response, but the list appears to be far from the "reasonable and actionable" proposals that Tillerson had called for on June 21.

In a statement provided to Mic, the Al-Jazeera Media Network said that the demand to shut down the company was nothing short of "a siege against the journalistic profession and the freedom of expression".

Cutting ties to Iran would prove incredibly hard. "The blockade is hindering US military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS", he said.

Vowing that the effort to divide Qatar and the U.S. will not succeed, Al-Thani also recalled that it was tiny Qatar who welcomed an United States military base years ago, when all other Gulf countries refused to surrender their soil to America.

- Pay an unspecified sum in reparations.

"By accepting those demands and conditions Qatar will be subject to worldwide accountability and violating its commitments regarding human rights conventions", Qatar's National Human Rights Committee said in a statement cited by Reuters. One of them compared shuttering Al-Jazeera to another country telling the United States to close down CNN.

Qatar has only 300,000 citizens enjoying the riches produced by the world's largest exports of liquefied natural gas.

They also include severing ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Jabhat Fateh Al Sham, formerly Al Qaeda's branch in Syria, and the surrender of all designated terrorists on Qatari territory.

The Arab nations released a list after the blockade of 59 people and a dozen groups they alleged were extremists with ties to Qatar.

UAE warns Qatar to accept demands or face 'divorce'