Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET
Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have presented Qatar with a list of demands to meet before they will end a now three-week long blockade against the country. An English version of the list was first reported by the Associated Press early Friday local time, and on it were 13 requirements, including demands that Qatar curb all diplomatic ties with Iran and that it shut down the government-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera.
The list, which was presented to Doha on behalf of the Saudi-led bloc by Kuwait, an intermediary in the crisis, comes weeks after a group of six Arab countries—Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, and Yemen— severed relations with Qatar over its alleged support of terrorism. Though tensions between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors are hardly new, this latest diplomatic crisis marks a significant escalation, with Saudi Arabia closing Qatar’s only land border and halting all travel to the country.
One of the main focuses of the demands centers on Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival. In addition to calling for and end of diplomatic ties with Tehran, the countries say that Qatar must expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off joint military cooperation with Iran, limiting relations to trade and commerce (in compliance with U.S. and international sanctions). The Saudi-led bloc also demanded Qatar shutter Al Jazeera, its affiliate stations, and at least four other news outlets that receive Qatari funding. It’s a demand Qatar is unlikely to cede, as the country’s foreign minister previously said Doha would refuse to discuss “any matter related to Al Jazeera,” noting that the channel is considered an “internal affair” and a sovereignty issue. Al Jazeera Media Network called the demand “a siege against the journalistic profession.”