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Arab states give Qatar deadline and list of demands: Shutter Al Jazeera …

Four Arab states that have severed ties with Qatar have issued a list of 13 demands for Doha to end the crisis, including reducing its ties with Iran and closing the Al-Jazeera TV station.

WASHINGTON ― Qatar's ambassador to the US told HuffPost on Friday that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries' demands on his nation are about suppressing press freedom and Qatari sovereignty, rather than the country's alleged support for terror. Those umbrella groups also appear on the list of entities whose ties with Qatar must be extinguished, along with Lebanon's Hezbollah and the al-Qaida branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front.

Qatar has 10 days to comply.

The ambassador declined to comment further on Qatar's view of the demands, saying authorities in the capital of Doha were still weighing how best to respond.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also recalled their ambassadors from Qatar in March 2014, upset about a perceived interference in their affairs through the network and Qatar's funding of Islamist movements.

Saudi, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties to Qatar this month over accusations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism.

U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a tough stance on Qatar, accusing it of being a "high level" sponsor of terrorism, but he has also offered help to the parties in the dispute to resolve their differences.

Yet NPR's Peter Kenyon reports that "the impact has been blunted somewhat as Iran and Turkey stepped in to send food and other supplies to Qatar". Complying would force Qatar to bring its policies in line with the regional vision of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's biggest economy and gatekeeper of Qatar's only land border.

"The demands are so aggressive that it makes it close to impossible to now see a resolution of that conflict", Olivier Jakob, a strategist at Switzerland-based oil consultancy Petromatrix, said.

Al Jazeera has condemned the demand and called it "nothing short than a siege against the journalistic profession".

Although Reuters was told about the contents of the ultimatum by an official from one of the sanctioning countries, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash accused Qatar of leaking the demands.

Qatar also must hand over "terrorist figures" and "wanted individuals" from the four Arab countries to their countries of origin, freeze their assets, and stop providing any future sanctuary to any outlawed members, the list says.

Only a day earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had warned the demands must be "reasonable and actionable".

In addition to Al-Jazeera, it must shut online information sites that it supports, according to the reported demands.

Also, not only must Qatar shut down the Doha-based satellite broadcaster, the list says, but also all of its affiliates.

More broadly, the list demands that Qatar align itself politically, economically and otherwise with the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional club that has focused on countering the influence of Iran.

Prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said the bill was a violation of the July 2015 deal between Iran and major powers, under which they agreed to lift sanctions in return for a reduction in Iran's nuclear activities.

Cutting ties to Iran would prove incredibly hard. That presumably would mean Qatar would have to close down Al-Jazeera's English-language sister network.

If Qatar agrees to comply, the list asserts that it will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect.

There's also a demand for Qatar to stop funding other news outlets, including Arabi21, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye.

The list also demands the closing of a Turkish military base in Qatar, the official told Reuters.



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