Saudi Arabia & allies demand Qatar close Turkish base, shut Al Jazeera & more within 10 days

Saudi Arabia & allies demand Qatar close Turkish base, shut Al Jazeera & more within 10 days
The Arab states which have imposed an economic blockade on Qatar over its alleged financing of terrorism have issued a severe list of demands, which includes giving Doha 10 days to cut ties with Iran, shutting down Al Jazeera, closing a Turkish military base and paying a fine.

UPD: Turkey has no intention of closing Qatar base despite Saudi ultimatum

The Kuwait emissary, which is serving a mediator in the diplomatic standoff, has reportedly presented the list of 13 demands from the Arab states to Qatar. Doha has 10 days to comply, according to Associated Press which has seen the list.

The ultimatum demands that Qatar abandon its cooperation with Iran, close down its military base where Turkish troops stationed and disbands its Al Jazeera news network.

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: Unverified English List of Demands handed to Doha by Kuwait from Saudi , UAE, Egypt, Bahrain

The countries led by Saudi Arabia also demands Doha to cut all ties with terrorist organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Qaeda. The list also demands that the monarchy stop funding all extremist groups designated as “terrorist” by the US.

The Gulf nations are also seeking detailed information about “opposition figures that Qatar has funded,” AP said. In addition, Qatar must surrender all nationals who are wanted on terrorism charges by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed relations with Qatar in early June, accusing their neighbor of sponsoring terrorism. Some other countries outside the Gulf region also downscaled ties and partially joined in imposing economic sanctions on Qatar.

READ MORE: Iran supplies 1,000+ tons of food to Qatar every day – media

Before Kuwait delivered the ultimatum, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cautioned that demands against Qatar need to be “reasonable and actionable.”

“We support the Kuwaiti mediation effort and look forward to this matter moving toward a resolution,” Tillerson said Wednesday.

This is the Kuwait emissary’s second mission aimed at restoring diplomatic ties between Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations.

During the previous attempt, Doha rejected the laid out preconditions, with Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Thani who serves as the Qatari foreign minister, stating emphatically that no outside power can interfere with Doha’s foreign policy or dictate its media politics. The Sheikh also made clear that Qatar could survive “forever” under sanctions.

The ongoing crisis was triggered in early June following a report on the state run Qatar News Agency (QNA) website, in which the country’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, criticizes Saudi Arabia’s anti-Iranian rhetoric among other controversial statements. QNA immediately retracted what it termed “fake news,” and following an investigation said the channel had been hacked by “neighboring” states which then used the QNA report as a pretext to impose the economic blockade.

As the crisis developed, Doha found itself increasingly isolated and dependent on aid from Turkey and now Iran. Both countries have sent food supplies to Doha, currently under a tough trade and travel blockade. Meanwhile, Ankara fast-tracked the ratification of an earlier sealed deal to send troops to the Gulf nation to train Qatar’s police force.

With no resolution to the stalemate imminent, Washington has questioned the motives behind the punitive measures imposed on Qatar.

“Were the actions really about their concerns regarding Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism, or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries?” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert asked Tuesday.

Since the start of the ongoing rift, Qatar has insisted that its innocent.

“Our government has maintained, from Day 1, that the blockade has nothing to do with the accusations that have been leveled against Qatar,” Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the United States wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday.

“The allegations that Qatar supports terrorism and that Qatar is a secret ally of Iran are, as the State Department suspects, just a smokescreen for an attempt to infringe upon Qatar’s sovereignty and punish Qatar for its independence,” the ambassador wrote.

‘We’re not ready to surrender’: Pressure won’t force Qatar to change foreign policy – FM 

He called for negotiations to end the crisis, but accused the belligerent states of “seeking to drive a wedge between Qatar and the United States for their own political gain.”

“Qatar has the right to chart its own course, without the interference of other nations, and that is what we can and will do. The door to the negotiating table will stay open,” Al-Thani emphasized.

Qatar’s human rights chief urges UN to condemn blockade and send ‘fact-finding commission’ to Doha 

Photo published for ‘Worse than Berlin Wall’: Qatar’s human rights chief slams blockade by Arab states — RT News

‘Worse than Berlin Wall’: Qatar’s human rights chief slams blockade by Arab states — RT News

Top Arab states cutting ties with Qatar is a “collective punishment,” Ali Bin Samikh Al-Marri, head of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), urging the UN to investigate the damage done by…

The envoy said the Saudi-led nations know all too well that Qataris “do not, have not and never will support terrorism,” and accused Doha’s detractors of orchestrating a “smear campaign” when it comes to accusations that Qatar is a “secret ally” of Iran. He added that Doha is providing support to Syrian rebels who are battling against the Syrian government and Iranian troops.

“The Saudis, the UAE and every government in the Gulf maintain diplomatic and trade relations with Iran,” the ambassador pointed out. “In fact, Iran’s biggest trading partner is the nation now leading the anti-Qatar blockade, the UAE.”

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N. Korea blames US student’s death on Obama policy, calls itself ‘biggest victim’

N. Korea blames US student’s death on Obama policy, calls itself ‘biggest victim’
A US student released by North Korea to the US in a coma was a victim of the “strategic patience” policy of former President Barack Obama, who never requested his release, says Pyongyang. It labels itself the “biggest victim” after the student’s death.

North Korea has blamed the death of Otto Warmbier, whom it released in a coma after 17 months’ detention, on Obama’s “strategic patience” policy. His release was never requested, Pyongyang says.

Warmbier was released earlier in June with severe neurological trauma after months spent in a coma. He passed away at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Ohio, on Monday.

In its first official comment following his death, Pyongyang says Warmbier was “a victim of the policy of strategic patience” of then-US President Obama, whose administration never requested his release, an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement to the official KCNA agency, released Friday and seen by Reuters, AFP and AP.

Pyongyang then went on, saying North Korea is the “biggest victim” in Warmbier’s death.

READ MORE: Comatose US student released by North Korea dies in hospital

According to the unnamed official, the fact that Warmbier died suddenly, less than a week after his return to the US in his normal state of health “is a mystery to us as well.”

US doctors who traveled to check on the student’s health confirmed that Pyongyang had “provided him with medical treatment and brought him back [to life, as his] heart was nearly stopped,” the official added.

READ MORE: ‘Risk too high’: Tour agency that sent Otto Warmbier to N. Korea halts trips for Americans

“Although Warmbier was a criminal who committed a hostile act against the DPRK [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], we accepted the repeated requests of the present US administration and, in consideration of his bad health, sent him back home on humanitarian grounds,” the spokesman said.

Those who have “absolutely no idea” about “how well” Pyongyang treated Warmbier “under humanitarian conditions dare to utter ‘mistreatment’ and ‘torture’,” the statement from the official read.

The official accused Washington of conducting a “smear campaign” against North Korea.

“[It] compels us to make firm determination that… we should further sharpen the blade of law,” he said, adding “the US should ponder over the consequences to be entailed from its reckless and rash act.”

The 22-year-old University of Virginia student came to North Korea for a short visit in late 2015 as a tourist and was arrested in January 2016 on charges that he stole a propaganda poster from a staff-only level of the Pyongyang hotel where he was staying.

Warmbier was charged with “hostile acts” towards the North and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, but was released and medically evacuated 17 months later.

His parents were told that their son had contracted botulism, a form of food poisoning, soon after his trial. He then reportedly took a sleeping pill and never woke up.

When Warmbier was still in coma, his father said there was no excuse for how his son had been treated in North Korea.

“North Korea is a pariah regime. They’re brutal, they’re terroristic,” he told reporters at a press conference in Wyoming, Ohio. “We don’t believe anything they say.”

The circumstances of Otto Warmbier’s coma and death are yet not clear. He had been in a comatose state since at least April 2016, according to two MRI scans that were on a disc that arrived with the student from North Korea, Dr. Daniel Kanter told reporters earlier in June.

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