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Iran tells Riyadh to free Iranian fishermen, pay compensation for killing one

Stacy Diaz | 24 June, 2017, 03:14

Qatar National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has 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 worldwide and regional agreements.

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Having urged Qatar's neighbours to come up with "reasonable and actionable" demands, the USA sought to distance itself from the crisis the day after the Arab countries issued a list that included several provisions Qatar had already declared it could not or would not accept.

A senior United Arab Emirates official has accused Qatar of sharing with the media demands made against it by four Arab states, saying the move undermines efforts to resolve the crisis.

The United States was hoping the demands might move crisis resolution along.

The US Secretary of State explained it had always been the desire of the US to have unity in the Persian Gulf in order to concentrate on the fight against "terrorism".

"We continue to follow the situation with deep concern. We encourage all parties to exercise restraint to allow for productive, diplomatic discussions", the spokesperson stated.

Qatar is the world's leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hosts the biggest American airbase in the Middle East.

Saudi, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties to Qatar this month over accusations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism.

Qatar's government confirmed it had received the list from Kuwait, which is mediating the crisis, but did not comment further.

The four countries say Qatar must shut down its Doha-based news network Al-Jazeera and its affiliates, sever ties with "terrorist organizations" such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah, and immediately close Turkey's military base outside the Qatari capital.

Al-Jazeera added that it "deplores" calls for its closure.

"Any call to close to down or curtail Al-Jazeera is nothing but an attempt to muzzle a voice of democracy in the region and suppress freedom of expression", he said by phone.

Instead, Giles Trendle says Al-Jazeera is committed to continuing broadcasts.

On Tuesday Breitbart Jerusalem reported that a senior Iranian official, Sheikh Hussein al-Islam, hinted at Israel and Saudi Arabia's alleged support for the Islamic State.

The U.S. challenge will be to gauge how ready Saudi Arabia and its allies are for real negotiations with Qatar, or whether they simply want to inflict maximum economic damage on the tiny country, and get to discussions later.

Saudi Arabia regularly accuses Iran, its regional rival, of interference throughout the Middle East.

The kingdom led nations in unexpectedly cutting off nominal ally Qatar from the clubby Gulf Cooperation Council, which suddenly looks so incredibly unco-operative that is has raised fears of war among its members.

The demand by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries for Qatar to shut down Al Jazeera media network, among other conditions, to end the ongoing diplomatic impasse in the Gulf region has drawn condemnation.

Qatar is also required to hand over opposition figures wanted by its three neighbours and Egypt.