Doha, Qatar | AFP | A deadline was approaching Sunday for Qatar to accept 13 demands by several Arab states in return for lifting a de facto blockade.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, cut ties with Qatar on June 5 and issued their demands on June 22.
The deadline has not been officially confirmed.
Here are the key demands:
– Close Al-Jazeera –
The Qatari-based Al-Jazeera news channel has long been a source of conflict between Doha and its neighbours, who accuse it of bias and fomenting unrest.
One of the world’s largest news organisations, it has been repeatedly banned.
Egypt accuses it of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which it blames for violence after the military ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
The United Nations said the demand to shut Al-Jazeera and “other affiliated media outlets” was “an unacceptable attack on the right to freedom of expression and opinion”.
– Quit backing Muslim Brotherhood –
The Arab countries also demand that Doha cut ties with groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia and its allies blacklist as a “terrorist” organisation.
They also called on Qatar to hand over opposition figures based in Doha.
The emirate has long hosted exiled Brotherhood figures including the movement’s spiritual leader, Egyptian preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and Khaled Meshaal, former head of the Brotherhood-linked Palestinian movement Hamas.
Western governments have concerns about the Brotherhood but have not listed it as a foreign terrorist organisation — nor has the UN.
– Close Turkish base –
Another key demand is the closure of a Turkish military base in Qatar set to give Turkey a new foothold in the Gulf.
Turkey sees Qatar as its top Gulf ally but is also keen to improve relations with regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia.
However, Turkey’s parliament approved a troop deployment to the Qatar base just two days after the crisis broke out.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the demands were “against international law”.