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Saudi-led block does not want regime change in Qatar: UAE

LiveMint logoLiveMint 24-06-2017 Mahmoud Habboush

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia and its allies want to resolve their standoff with Qatar through diplomacy and don’t seek a regime change, UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said at a press conference in Dubai.

“There is no intention for any sort of escalation,” Gargash said on Saturday when asked about a possible military intervention against Qatar if negotiations fail to end the impasse. “This is not about regime change, this is about behavioural change,” he said.

The Saudi-led bloc presented Qatar with a list of steep demands to end the crisis that has roiled the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The 13 requirements include shutting the Al-Jazeera TV network, cutting back diplomatic ties with Iran, severing relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and ending Turkey’s military presence in Qatar, according to a Gulf official who confirmed the veracity of the document, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Qatar has 10 days to respond to the list, which it received from crisis mediator Kuwait, said the official. Sheikh Saif al-Thani, director of Qatar’s government communications office, expressed doubt about reaching an agreement, saying the demands don’t meet the criteria set out by the US and UK governments for “reasonable and realistic” measures.

“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 said in an emailed statement.

The feud began earlier this month when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt abruptly cut ties with Doha. Qatar denies the allegation that it supports terrorism and countered that Saudi Arabia is seeking to dominate smaller states within the region.

Gargash reiterated an earlier accusation that Qatar leaked the demands, saying this undermined Kuwait’s effort to mediate. Should Qatar agree to the deal, Gargash called for US and EU involvement in monitoring its compliance. Bloomberg

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