Riyadh Backs Out: No Need for Qatar to Close Al Jazeera

Saudi-led bloc has dropped the list of 13 demands for Qatar saying Doha does not need to close down Al Jazeera News Network. They are now urging Qatar to commit to six principles.

Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi told a briefing for a group of UN correspondents that the Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain are now committed to the six principles agreed to by their foreign ministers at a meeting in Cairo on July 5.

According to the new principles, Qatar should vow to fight against extremism and terrorism, stop providing financial support and safe havens for terror groups, and suspend all acts of provocation and speeches inciting hatred or violence.

“We hope that Doha would commit itself to these principles. Implementation and monitoring of any mechanisms agreed upon within the six principles is essential,” al-Mouallimi added, according to a Farsi report by ISNA.

However, he said both sides can talk about details of “the tactics” and “the tools” to implement them. “That’s where we can have discussion and compromise.”

The Saudi ambassador explained that the initial 13 points included some principles and some tools to achieve compliance.

Al-Mouallimi stressed that it is essential for Qatar to stop inciting others to violence, but he said closing Al Jazeera might not be necessary.

“If we can achieve that without closing down Al Jazeera, that’s fine. The important thing is the objective and the principles involved.”

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain broke relations with Qatar in early June largely over their allegations that it supports extremist groups — a charge that Qatar rejects. They initially made 13 demands, which Qatar said are “unrealistic and is not actionable”.

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