As expected, Qatar has refused the demands set out in a 13 point Saudi drafted ultimatum designed to essentially bully Qatar into the resumption of normal albeit politically dependant relations with the states which have boycotted Qatar.
Among the most absurd items on the list including a clause demanding reparations from Doha to the opposing parties, a demand to take all Qatari media including Al Jazeera permanently off air, a clause forcing Qatar to kick Turkish troops out of the country and a clause demanding Doha downgrade relations with Tehran.
None of these demands were realistic. They read like an attempt at colonialism more reminiscent of something from the Peloponnesian War than from the 21st century.
Sheikh Saif Al Thani of the government communications office in Doha has said the following of the ultimatum,
“This 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 our foreign policy”.
He continued saying that the demands were both “unreasonable” and “unrealistic” and even the most cursory inspection of the document would reveal this to be objectively true.
A country has no right to tell another country with whom and how to conduct foreign relations. A country cannot tell another country whose troops it can or cannot invite onto its sovereign territory and likewise a country cannot tell another country to shut down its domestically produced media outlets, whatever one’s opinions on those outlets are.
It must be reiterated that Qatar has been widely exposed, including by Wikileaks as having ties to dangerous Salafist terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and ISIS. That being said, Qatar is if anything, the junior partner in the sponsorship of terrorism vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia.
Qatar whose government will soon issue a full official response to the ultimatum said that in principle Doha is willing and able to be cut off from its neighbours and Egypt for the long term.
The United States and Russia both continue to insist that the dispute should be eventually solved amicably within the Gulf Cooperation Council but thus far the diplomatic efforts of Kuwait and to a lesser degree Oman have not been able to force Saudi and the UAE from their intractable position.
Trump’s War on VT Continues as US Warned by Russia Over N. Korea
“I hope that there won’t be any unilateral actions like we recently saw in Syria and that the US will follow the policies Trump repeatedly declared during his election campaign,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, regarding the statement made by US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday during his visit to South Korea.
The world has witnessed the “strength and resolve of [President Trump] in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” according to Pence, who threatened North Korea “not to test” this resolve or “or the strength of the armed forces of the United States.”
The Russian foreign minister warned not to take any military actions and stressed that the “risky nuclear and missile endeavors of Pyongyang” violating UNSC resolutions could not be used as an excuse for violating international law and the UN Charter “in the same fashion” as in Syria.
The period of US policy before the current escalation could be hardly described as an “era of strategic patience,” Lavrov added.
“I cannot call the Obama administration’s period an ‘era of strategic patience,’ as the US has been quite harshly limiting North Korea’s capabilities to develop economy sectors related to nuclear or energy areas,” Lavrov said, referring to past US initiatives, many of them backed by the UN Security Council.
Harsh statements do not contribute to peace and stability in the region, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said, while commenting on South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn’s promise to “implement intensive punitive measures” on Pyongyang in case of any “provocations.”
“Our position is well known and consistent. We call on all sides to avoid any actions which might be perceived as a provocation. And we stand for the continuation of coordinated international efforts in existing formats to resolve the North Korean problem,” Peskov said.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are reaching boiling point again, after Pyongyang conducted a missile test amid joint US-South Korea drills in March. On April 10, the USS Carl Vinson was part of a strike group that reportedly headed to the peninsula as a show of force and to demonstrate readiness for “various scenarios.”
North Korea has urged the US to stop its “military hysteria” and “come to its senses” – or face a merciless response if “provocations continue.” On Saturday, Pyongyang allegedly conducted yet another missile test, although it was reportedly unsuccessful.