By Ashna Butani
Believing that Qatar has supported the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, the four Arab nations; UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt had cut ties with the country. They had also evicted Qatari citizens from their countries. Citizens from the Arab countries living in Qatar were recalled from Qatar as well. Qatar has been fighting food shortages, a declining economy and the problem of broken mixed-nation families. In order to ease the diplomatic blockade, the four nations drafted a list of 13 demands for Qatar to follow.
Qatar has been constantly denying the accusations of supporting terrorism. Hence, it refused to agree to the 13 demands as they were encroaching upon its sovereignty by asking it to give up its news broadcaster, Al Jazeera and break ties with Iran. Due to mediating efforts from parties such as the United Nations, USA and European powers, the Arab nations decided to ease the blockade.
Now, a new list of six principles has been presented by the four countries in a joint statement in Cairo. The four countries are not willing to compromise any further. Officials believe that these six principles will be more acceptable for Qatar. The foreign ministers met to discuss their dispute with Qatar on 30 July.
The six principles
The six principles have been made while respecting Qatar’s sovereignty. As per the principles, Qatar is expected to combat terrorism and extremism in all forms, prohibit all acts that may incite violence and to refrain from interfering in internal affairs of States. Additionally, Qatar is also expected to agree to all that was discussed in the Arab-Islamic-US summit. During this summit, President Trump had put the onus on the Muslim world to combat terrorism. Qatar is also expected to comply with the Riyadh agreement of 2013, that bars support of hostile and opposition groups in these nations.
The UAE ambassador said that they will never go back to status quo and Qataris need to understand that. The United Nations has fully supported the Arab states, as they move one step closer to reconciliation. Officials state that their aim is a diplomatic solution and they hope that Qatar will come around.
Will Qatar come around?
Qatar, on the other hand, has not yet responded to any of the demands. Rather, it has put its foot down and said that the ban must be lifted before any dialogue takes place. The country that has faced major economic and diplomatic losses, was pursuing legal action against the nations that had imposed the blockade. It was previously dependant on Saudi exports for food. Up until now, Qatar has been fighting food shortages by receiving aid from Turkey and Iran.
Last week, Qatar’s Defence Minister Al Ateeyah, said that if the ban is not lifted, Qatar will resort to international legal remedies. The two sides have been at loggerheads since June, and despite measures taken by both the sides, coming to a consensus has not been easy. However, it is also true that both sides have a lot to lose in the long run. The Arab nations depend on Qatar for oil import and mixed-nation families are on the verge of separation. In spite of their stubbornness, both the sides have now come closer to an agreement than ever before.
Featured Image Source: Flickr
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