The influential retired Saudi army official, Lieutenant General Anwar Eshki, who is close to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has revealed Riyadh’s main preconditions for normalising ties with Qatar and overcoming the current crisis in the Persian Gulf.
Commenting on the Saudi regime’s policies to exert pressure on Qatar, he said the activities of the Doha-based state-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera is one of the biggest issues with which Saudi Arabia has always had problem.
“Qatar is required to completely terminate the activities of the broadcaster to help normalise ties between the two countries,” he said in an interview with Arabic daily Kuwaiti newspaper, al-Qabas,
Eshki accused Al Jazeera of pursuing hostile policies towards Saudi Arabia, and said the Qatari broadcaster has adopted a negative approach towards the Persian Gulf littoral Arab states by broadcasting hostile propaganda against them, a move which is supported by the Qatari government.
He said the Qatari government is providing Al Jazeera with extensive financial support, stressing that to restore cordial relations with Riyadh, Doha is required to fully suspend it.
He added that expulsion of all members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian resistance movement Hamas from Doha is the other condition of Saudi Arabia for the resumption of friendly relations with Qatar.
This comes as Qatari officials have clearly refused to acquiesce to any of the preconditions set by Saudis.
As of June 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region with its support for terrorist groups.
In addition, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain closed their airspace to Qatar, and asked Qatari diplomats to leave their territories within 48 hours.
Following these states, Mauritius, Mauritania, the Maldives and Libya’s eastern-based government also suspended diplomatic relations with Qatar.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi are scheduled to travel to Kuwait to hold talks with the country’s officials on mutual relations and resolving Qatar’s problem.