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Arab states don't seek 'regime change' in Qatar, says UAE official

26 June 2017

He underscored that if there has been any violation of law by Al Jazeera the broadcaster could be brought to court in Qatar or any other country, but the demand to shut it is a "crime".

The question is - will Arab states demand that the USA close its Qatar base?

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Al-Jazeera: "The US secretary of state recently called upon the blockading nations to produce a list of grievances that was "reasonable and actionable".

The acting managing director of Al-Jazeera's English language service has denounced demands by Gulf Arab states involved in a major dispute with Qatar that the network be shut down as an attempt to suppress free expression. "We assert our right to practice our journalism professionally without bowing to pressure from any government or authority and we demand that governments respect the freedom of media to allow journalists to continue to do their jobs free of intimidation, threats and fearmongering".

"The leakage will further exasperate & prolong the Qatar crisis".

The UAE's Foreign Minister Anwar Mohammad Gargash said there would be a "parting of ways" with Qatar if it failed to meet the demands.

All demands must be accepted within 10 days, otherwise they will be considered void.

The ultimatum also include calls for Doha to cut ties to groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State organization, Al-Qaeda and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.

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

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The most politically explosive demands on the list - assuming Qatar does not explode over being treated like a criminal on probation for supporting terrorism - concern Iran and Turkey.

Adding insult to injury, Qatar must pay reparations to the four countries and consent to monthly audits of its compliance for the first year, then quarterly for the second year and annually for the following 10 years.

"We hope that the countries involved resolve the situation through dialogue", said United Nations spokeswoman Eri Kaneko.

On June 8, Al Jazeera said it was experiencing "systematic and continual" hacks to its website.

Saudi Arabia has severed all land, sea and air links with Qatar, and Qatar Airlines has had to cancel or reroute some flights that usually use the airspace of the boycotting nations.

All of the nations involved are US allies, and Qatar and Bahrain host large USA military bases. Defense Minister Fikri Isik rejected the demand to close the base, saying it would represent interference in Ankara's relations with Doha.

Qatari officials did not reply immediately to requests for comment. We did question the need, the validity, and motivation behind these arrangements with Qatar, but Saudi Arabia and the three other countries that demanded the closure [of the Turkish base] - are they prepared to demand that closure of U.S. airbase in Qatar, as well?

-Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Analysts have accused President Donald Trump's administration of sending mixed signals, exacerbating the rift.

QATAR POSITION: Qatari authorities have prosecuted five people accused by the US and the United Nations of financing terrorists , according to two Western officials and a Qatari official, who have direct knowledge of the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to disclose the information publicly.

Arab states don't seek 'regime change' in Qatar, says UAE official