Qatar has rejected a list of demands submitted by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, calling it “neither reasonable nor actionable”, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday. The list was received by Qatar’s ministry of foreign affairs on June 22, Al Jazeera said quoting the state-run Qatar News Agency.
“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,” said Sheikh Saif al-Thani, the director of Qatar’s government communications office, in a statement to Reuters. He added that the list provided did not satisfy the criteria set by the United States and Britain, who had asked for demands that would be realistic.
Qatar also said it is reviewing the demands and is preparing an official response to them. Qatar will hand over its response to Kuwait, which is mediating the crisis, the Qatar News Agency said, citing a statement by the ministry of foreign affairs.
Qatar’s ambassador to the US, Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, also criticised the list of demands, calling it an attempt to “suppress free media and freedom of speech” and “infringe upon our sovereignity and punish Qatar for its independence”.
The list presented to Qatar by the Arab countries demanded that it cut ties with Iran, hand over extremists and shut down Al Jazeera. It also demanded compensation and called for an end to Turkey’s military presence in Qatar, among other things.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt had severed diplomatic relations with Qatar accusing it of backing terrorism. Other countries in the region had followed. US President Donald Trump had supported the action, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had called for mediation and a quick resolution of the dispute.