SHAAFQNA- Germany says the demands made by four Arab states in a dispute with Qatar are “very provocative.”
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties and cut all land, sea, and air contacts with Qatar on June 5. The four countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region, allegations denied by Doha.
The Saudi-led bloc of states later issued a list of demands for Qatar to meet in return for a normalization of ties. Among them was that Qatar sever ties to Iran.
Speaking alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at a forum in Berlin on Monday, German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called the demands “very provocative” and said that some of the items on the list challenged Doha’s sovereignty.
Qatar was also asked to close down a media network that has reportedly been critical specially of the absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia, shut a Turkish military base, and pay up “compensation” for “damages” from purported terror sponsorship.
The four countries also gave Doha ten days — starting Friday — to meet those demands.
Qatar says its neighbors have attempted to punish it merely for its refusal to toe their line on matters of foreign policy. Doha has also denounced the ultimatum as unreasonable and an infringement of its sovereignty.
Early after the dispute erupted, Turkey threw support behind Qatar, deciding to send more military forces to the base there. That decision seemed to irk the Saudi-led bloc of countries even as Ankara attempted to look impartial by offering to build a military base in Saudi Arabia, too. Riyadh said no such military base was necessary, and later came the demand among other demands that Qatar close down the Turkish base it has been hosting.
Iran has called for dialog among the feuding countries but has also been shipping food to Qatar on humanitarian grounds. So have Turkey and Oman.
Gabriel said efforts were underway to define which conditions Qatar could accept and which it viewed as problematic.
He was due to hold a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Berlin on Tuesday.
Zarif said at the forum in Berlin that Europe had to use its influence to defuse tensions in the Persian Gulf region, arguing that those countries that blamed Iran or Qatar for terrorism were trying to avoid taking responsibility for their own failures.