Germany: Demands by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates from Qatar ‘very provocative’

June 27, 2017 10:30 pm

This file photo shows German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel delivering a speech ahead of a fast-breaking meal at the Embassy of the in Berlin, Germany, on June 13, 2017. (By AFP)

Germany says the demands made by four Arab states in a dispute with Qatar are “very provocative.”
, , , and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties and cut all land, sea, and air contacts with Qatar on June 5. The four countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region, allegations denied by Doha.
The Saudi-led bloc of states later issued a list of demands for Qatar to meet in return for a normalization of ties. Among them was that Qatar sever ties with Iran.
Speaking alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at a forum in Berlin on Monday, German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called the demands “very provocative” and said that some of the items on the list challenged Doha’s sovereignty.
Qatar was also asked to close down Al Jazeera, a media network that has reportedly been critical specially of the absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia, shut a Turkish military base, and pay up “compensation” for “damages” from purported terror sponsorship.
The four countries also gave Doha ten days — starting Friday — to meet those demands.
Qatar says its neighbors have attempted to punish it merely for its refusal to toe their line on matters of . Doha has also denounced the ultimatum as unreasonable and an infringement of its sovereignty.
Early after the dispute erupted, Turkey threw its support behind Qatar, deciding to send more military forces to the base there. That decision seemed to irk the Saudi-led bloc of countries even as Ankara attempted to look impartial by offering to build a military base in Saudi Arabia, too. Riyadh said no such military base was necessary, and later came the demand among others that Qatar close down the Turkish base it has been hosting.
Iran has called for dialog among the feuding countries but has also been shipping food to Qatar on humanitarian grounds. So have Turkey and Oman.

A customer is seen shopping at the al-Meera market in the Qatari capital, Doha, on June 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Gabriel said efforts were underway to define which conditions Qatar could accept and which it viewed as problematic.
He was due to hold a meeting with Iran’s Zarif in Berlin on Tuesday.
Zarif said at the forum that Europe had to use its influence to defuse tensions in the region, arguing that those countries that blamed Iran or Qatar for terrorism were trying to avoid taking responsibility for their own failures.
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