Saudi-led demands not reasonable or actionable: Qatar

 
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Doha June 24 (TNS): Qatar has dismissed a list of demands submitted by four Arab countries as neither reasonable or actionable.

The list was received by Qatar’s ministry of foreign affairs on June 22, according to a report by the state-run Qatar News Agency.

“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,” Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of the Qatari government’s communications office said in a statement.

“The US secretary of state recently called upon the blockading nations to produce a list of grievances that was reasonable and actionable. The British foreign secretary asked that the demands be measured and realistic. This list does not satisfy that criteria,” he said.

Qatar also said it is reviewing the demands and is preparing an official response after confirming the receipt of a document containing demands from several Arab countries that cut ties with it and imposed a blockade against it earlier this month amid a major diplomatic crisis.

“The State of Qatar is currently studying this paper, the demands contained therein and the foundations on which they were based, in order to prepare an appropriate response to it and hand it over to the state of Kuwait,” QNA said, citing a statement by the ministry of foreign affairs.

Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the US, also criticised the list of demands.

Kuwait has been acting as a mediator to defuse the crisis that erupted on June 5 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt announced they were severing relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting “terrorism.”

Earlier, Qatar National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) called on Doha not to accept a list of demands submitted by four Arab countries, stating that it contains conditions that violate human rights conventions and other international and regional agreements.

“By accepting those demands and conditions Qatar will be subject to international accountability and violating its commitments regarding human rights conventions,” NHRC said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates – which cut ties with Qatar – issued an ultimatum on Friday to Doha to close Al Jazeera, curb ties with Iran, shut a Turkish military base and pay reparations, among other demands.

The committee stated that some of the conditions in the list of demands amount to gross violations of human rights, such as the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to nationality, and the right to asylum.

“The closure of Al Jazeera contradicts all human rights conventions regarding freedom of opinion and expression as well as the protection of journalists, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other instruments issued by UNESCO in addition to the decisions of international human rights conferences,” read the statement.

The NHRC also called for an immediate and unconditional lifting of a blockade imposed by the Saudi-led bloc of countries against Qatar.

“The siege can not be subject to restrictions or conditions because it is in contravention of international agreements and human rights conventions. It should therefore be lifted immediately and unconditionally,” the committee said.