Friday, 16 November, 2018

Qatar says working on response to Gulf demands, but says they're unrealistic

Ellis Copeland | 30 June, 2017, 00:49

The Saudi-led bloc imposed an economic, diplomatic and transport blockade on Qatar in early June, accusing it of supporting "terrorists" and criminals in the region. He attended a dinner at the Kuwait Embassy and met al-Jubeir on Tuesday, before joining Tillerson on Wednesday.

"It is about limiting Qatar's sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy", Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, Qatari communications director said Friday according to Al-Jazeera.

The Qatar crisis seems to have escalated further as the Saudi Arabia-led block is considering fresh sanctions that may include asking trading partners to choose between them or Doha, United Arab Emirates' ambassador to Russian Federation said.

Gulf states are now looking to impose a list of trade sanctions that would target states and companies dealing with Qatar, in order to escalate pressure on Doha and force it to implement the list of 13 demands submitted by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.

The workers from countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal have been left without accommodation and money, said Ali Bin Smaikh al-Marri, chairman of Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), Al Jazeera reported.

The demands included the closure of all news outlets that Qatar allegedly funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye.

The UAE ambassador to Russian Federation told the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday that the Gulf Arab states were considering fresh economic sanctions on Qatar.

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The four countries have not provided any evidence for their claim, while Qatar has repeatedly rejected the allegation.

The public divisions in Washington over the USA stance toward the Gulf dispute highlight the reckless, incoherent and crisis-ridden character of American foreign policy in the Middle East and internationally. For Saudi Arabia and others elated by Trump's tough talk about fighting terrorism and opposing Iranian influence, the crisis is an opportunity to test just how far Trump's administration will go.

The United States has cautioned that some of the demands would be hard for Qatar to accept, asking the Saudis for a clear list of grievances that are "reasonable and actionable".

Al Jubeir denied that the timing of the crisis was tied to President Trump, after speculation that the Saudis and their allies felt emboldened to take action after the president's visit to the Kingdom.

Shipowners and charterers have received official notifications that clearly indicate that vessels may call into Gulf ports on the way from, or on the way to, Qatar ports, Platts also said.

Top Gulf diplomats were in Washington on Tuesday as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to help resolve the stubborn Qatar crisis, amid concerns that Saudi Arabia's unyielding stance could foil the effort.

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