UAE sees 'parting of ways' if Qatar does not accept Arab demands

FIGHTING FUND

Qatar is reviewing a list of demands it must meet to end sanctions against it - but the country says the demands aren't fair.

Doha said the 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 [Qatar's] foreign policy".

The Qatari foreign ministry confirmed early on Saturday that it had received the list of demands, and would now "prepare an appropriate response".

Al-Thani added that the ultimatum, which the tiny Gulf emirate has been given 10 days to enact, failed to meet the "reasonable and actionable" criteria set out by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this week and a similar British benchmark that the requirements of Qatar should be "measured and realistic".

The dispute erupted when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and others broke ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of backing extremism.

Doha, for its part, strenuously denies accusations that it supports terrorism, describing the attempts to isolate it as "unjustified".

AP has obtained a copy of the Arab demands "from one of the countries involved in the dispute", revealing that Qatar, among other things, is being pressured to cut ties with Iran, stop its support for Muslim Brotherhood and other radical groups, shut down its Al Jazeera broadcaster, close a military base housing Turkish troops on its territory and pay a fine.

On Thursday, the four nations presented a rigid 13-point ultimatum to Doha, giving the country a ten day deadline to comply if it wants the air, land and sea blockade lifted. "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 alternative is not escalation, the alternative is parting of ways, because it is very hard for us to maintain a collective grouping", Gargash said as cited by Reuters.

In the other official response out of Qatar, its Human Rights Committee said the demands represented "gross violations" of basic rights.

An unspecified sum in compensation was also requested, and as well as an agreement to shut down Turkey's military presence in Qatar.

A top Emirati diplomat said on Saturday that U.S. and European guarantees would be needed to monitor any future agreement aimed at ending a row between Qatar and its neighbours.

Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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

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

The United States is torn between the twin imperatives of counterterrorism and unity, both of which are important to American calculations and neither of which can be discarded.

The Arab countries issued a list of demands that included several provisions Qatar had already declared it could or would not accept. "There's a lot on the list that is simply not true or unreasonable, so how can we comply?" he said.

As the Trump and Tillerson statements suggested, numerous primary coalition accusations against Qatar resonate strongly with the key American policy of counter-terrorism, and specifically opposing terrorism financing and the harbouring of radicals.

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