Qatar has dismissed as “baseless” the Saudi-led bloc’s accusations that it supports terrorism and interferes in their internal affairs.
The published documents show that Gulf states, including Qatar, struck a series of agreements in 2013 and 2014, vowing not to support opposition forces on each other’s territory, as well as not to support “antagonistic media” that would trumpet opposition groups in the region, including Egypt and Bahrain.
One of the agreements specifically mentioned preventing Al Jazeera from being used as a platform for groups or figures challenging the Egyptian government.
After the agreement was signed, Al Jazeera shut down a channel dedicated to Egypt coverage: Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr, CNN reported.
There has been speculation that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain would try to expel Qatar from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, or even jeopardize Qatar’s membership in the Arab League.
Some items on their list could be included in an eventual deal, the official added. The United States’ top diplomat is looking to spend most of the week in the Gulf region in an effort to mediate in a month-long dispute between Qatar and four neighboring countries: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani on Monday sent a letter to Secretary General of the GCC Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, setting his country’s conditions so as not to withdraw from the GCC.
Al Thani said Qatar is committed to international laws and conventions, especially with regard to fighting terrorism and its financing, adding that Qatar will not negotiate on its sovereignty.
He added that his country would give a three-day notice to the Gulf countries to lift the “siege” imposed on Qatar and compensate it for the political and economic losses.
Following the deadline, Qatar will officially announce its withdrawal from the GCC, according to the letter.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt issued a list of 13 demands to Qatar later last month, including closing Al-Jazeera TV station, stopping financing and supporting terrorism, and downgrading its ties with Iran, as major preconditions for ending their boycott.
Washington has been sending mixed messages on the subject since the beginning of the crisis earlier in June. While President Donald Trump supported the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar, Tillerson called for an easing of the ban. And adding further confusion, days after Trump blasted Doha for “funding terrorism,” his administration authorized the sale of over $21 billion of US weapons to the emirate.
There are more than 10,000 American service members at the US Central Command base in Doha.
The Gulf countries have also accused Doha of not complying with previously struck agreements.
On Monday, CNN published the purported agreements signed in 2013 and 2014, the authenticity of which Qatar appeared to have confirmed by telling the outlet that it was Saudi Arabia and the UAE who “have broken the spirit of the agreement.”
“A full reading of that text will show that the intent of the 2013/14 agreements was to ensure that sovereign GCC nations be able cooperate within a clear framework,” the director of Qatar’s government communication office, Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed Al-Thani, told CNN.