close Jazeera, curb ties with Iran

By William Maclean and Rania El Gamal

DUBAI (Reuters) – Four Arab states that imposed a boycott on Qatar have issued an ultimatum to Doha to close Al Jazeera television, curb ties with Iran, shut a Turkish base and pay reparations, demands so far reaching it would appear to be hard for Doha to comply.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have sent a 13-point list of demands apparently aimed at dismantling their tiny but wealthy neighbour’s two decade-old interventionist foreign policy which has incensed them.

Qatar did not immediately comment, but Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani had said on Monday Qatar would not negotiate with the four states until economic, diplomatic and travel ties cut this month were restored.

The countries that imposed the sanctions accuse Qatar of funding terrorism, fomenting regional unrest and drawing too close to their enemy Iran. Qatar rejects those accusations and says it is being punished for refusing to hew to regional powers’ policy of supporting authoritarian, military and hereditary rulers.

The uncompromising demands leave little prospect for a quick end to the biggest diplomatic crisis for years between Sunni Arab Gulf states, regional analysts said.

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

Washington, which is a close military ally of countries on both sides of the dispute, had called for a resolution: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Qatar’s neighbours should make their demands “reasonable and actionable”.

TEN DAYS TO COMPLY

An official from one of the four nations, who gave details of the demands on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the offer would be “void” unless Qatar complied within 10 days.

The UAE has said sanctions could last for years. Qatar, the world’s richest country per capita, says the sanctions amount to a…

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