Middle East

List of demands issued to Qatar will be difficult to meet, Tillerson says

The list of demands Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations issued to Qatar last week will be difficult to meet, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday.

The list delivered Thursday includes demands that Qatar shut down Al-Jazeera, scale back ties to Iran and close a Turkish military base. The United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain co-signed the list.

“While some of the elements will be very difficult for Qatar to meet, there are significant areas which provide a basis for ongoing dialogue leading to resolution,” Tillerson said, according to The Wall Street Journal. “A productive next step would be for each of the countries to sit together and continue this conversation.”

Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia and other nations last week to issue a list of demands that were “reasonable and actionable” after the State Department questioned the motives of the nations boycotting Qatar.

Some of Qatar’s Gulf neighbors have blockaded the tiny nation for the last three weeks, closing borders and canceling airline flights while accusing it of supporting extremists and strengthening ties with Iran.

“We believe our allies and partners are stronger when they are working together towards one goal which we all agree is stopping terrorism and countering extremism,” Tillerson said. “Each country involved has something to contribute to that effort.  A lowering of rhetoric would also help ease the tension.”

He added the U.S. supports Kuwait’s efforts to mediate the conflict and the U.S. will keep in close contact with all parties.

In the 13-point list brought to Qatar, the Arab nations demand the country sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups including Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Qatar must refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and expel those currently in Qatar, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs.

They are also demanding that Qatar hand over all individuals who are wanted by those four countries for terrorism; stop funding any extremist entities that are designated as terrorist groups by the U.S.; and provide detailed information about opposition figures that Qatar has funded, ostensibly in Saudi Arabia and the other nations. Qatar was given 10 days to comply with the list of demands.

Qatar’s neighbors have voiced loud concerns over its ties with Iran and it is echoed with the demands. Qatar is told to shut down diplomatic posts in Iran, kick out from Qatar any members of the Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard, and only conduct trade and commerce with Iran that complies with U.S. sanctions.

The demands regarding Al-Jazeera, the Doha-based satellite broadcaster, state that Qatar must also shut down all affiliates. That presumably would mean Qatar would have to close down Al-Jazeera's English-language affiliate. Qatar's neighbors accuse Al-Jazeera of fomenting unrest in the region and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

If Qatar agrees to comply, the list asserts that it will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.