Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

UAE: Arab States Don’t Seek ‘Regime Change’ in Qatar

June 24, 2017

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told reporters in Dubai that his country and its allies, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, do not want “regime change” in Qatar, but a “behavioral change.”

The four countries presented a 13-point list of demands to Qatar through mediator Kuwait on Thursday and gave it 10 days to comply. Qatar says it is reviewing the ultimatum, which includes demands to shut Al-Jazeera, cut ties with Islamist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, and curb relations with Iran.

Qatar’s neighbors insisted the list of demands was their bottom line, not a starting point for negotiations. The Arab countries signaled that if Qatar refuses to comply by the deadline, they will continue to restrict its access to land, sea and air routes indefinitely amid mounting economic pressure on the Persian Gulf nation.

The demands from Qatar’s neighbors amount to a call for a sweeping overhaul of Qatar’s foreign policy and natural gas-funded influence peddling in the region. Complying would force Qatar to bring its policies in line with the regional vision of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest economy and gatekeeper of Qatar’s only land border.

The four Arab states cut ties with Qatar over allegations that it funds terrorism — an accusation Doha rejects but that President Donald Trump has echoed. The move has left Qatar under a de facto blockade by its neighbors.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has tried to mediate and earlier this week called on the Arab nations to limit themselves to “reasonable and actionable” demands on Qatar. That call appeared to have been roundly ignored, and it was the Kuwaitis, who also offered to mediate, who delivered the list to Qatar on Thursday.

Related:

 (Includes links to earlier Saudi, Qatar dispute articles)

If Qatar refuses to act on the ultimatum issued by Arab states, “the alternative is not escalation but parting ways” — UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs says

June 24, 2017

DUBAI — A senior United Arab Emirates (UAE) official said on Saturday that if Qatar did not accept an ultimatum issued by Arab states which imposed a boycott on the small Gulf Arab nation this month, “the alternative is not escalation but parting ways”.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told reporters that diplomacy, however, was still a priority.

The demands from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE, which Doha has said are not reasonable or actionable, include closing Al Jazeera television network, curbing ties with Iran, shutting a Turkish base and paying reparations.

(Reporting By Stephen Kalin; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Related:

 (Includes links to earlier Saudi, Qatar dispute articles)

UAE Says Will Not Back Down in Dispute if Qatar Declines to Cooperate

June 23, 2017

WASHINGTON — The United Arab Emirates, one of four Arab countries embroiled in a political dispute with Qatar, said on Friday it would not back down if Doha does not engage with demands that include requiring it to curb ties with Iran.

The countries’ ultimatum to Doha includes closing Al Jazeera television, curbing ties with Iran, shutting a Turkish base and paying reparations, demands so far-reaching it would appear to be hard for Doha to comply.

“This is our list of demands from Qatar. They’re (demands) are all important. This is a consistent pattern of behavior that affects all of us,” the UAE ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba, told Reuters. “We would hope that Qatar reacts by engaging and not by leaking documents and trying to have this litigated in public.”

If Qatar does not engage, “things will stay at the status quo, things will stay as they are,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have cut economic, diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar, which they accuse of funding terrorism, fomenting regional unrest and drawing too close to their enemy, Iran.

Qatar rejects those accusations and says it is being punished for straying from its neighbors’ backing for authoritarian hereditary and military rulers.

Otaiba also accused Qatar of leaking the 13-point list of demands, an accusation made by UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash earlier on Friday.

Image result for UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, photos

UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs AnwarGargash

Asked to respond to accusations by UAE officials that Qatar had leaked the document, the Qatar embassy in Washington did not comment.

The UAE has said sanctions could last for years. Qatar, the world’s richest country per capita, says the sanctions amount to a “blockade,” but it has ample reserves to weather the storm.

Washington, which is a close military ally of countries on both sides of the dispute, had called for a resolution. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Qatar’s neighbors should make their demands “reasonable and actionable”.

The dispute is a test for the United States, which has a large base in Qatar that is home to the headquarters of its Middle East air power and 11,000 troops.

(Reporting by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Alistair Bell and Jonathan Oatis)

Related:

 (Includes links to earlier Saudi, Qatar dispute articles)

UAE warns Qatar over neighbours’ demands

June 23, 2017

AFP

© AFP | A general view of the road near the Qatari side of the Abu Samrah border crossing with Saudi Arabia which has cut ties with Doha along with its allies

ABU DHABI (AFP) – The United Arab Emirates on Friday warned of “divorce” with Qatar unless it takes seriously a list of demands including the closure of Al-Jazeera television, as a diplomatic crisis drags on.Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s state minister for foreign affairs, issued the warning more than two weeks into the oil-rich region’s worst crisis in years.

The affair has also drawn in the United States, whose Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called for Gulf unity.

Qatar is the world’s leading LNG exporter and hosts the biggest American airbase in the Middle East.

Gargash accused Qatar of leaking a document containing the demands by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, which have cut diplomatic ties and accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism.

Qatar strongly denies such charges.

The demands have not been officially unveiled but Doha-based Al-Jazeera news channel said overnight Thursday they were handed to Qatar by Kuwait, which is mediating the dispute.

According to the document posted on social media, the four countries demand that Qatar closes Al-Jazeera, downgrades diplomatic ties with Iran and shuts a Turkish military base in the emirate.

The list of demands has not been officially confirmed.

“The leak (of the demands by Qatar) is an attempt to abort the mediation in a childish act that we have grown accustomed to from our brother,” Gargash wrote on Twitter.?

“It would be wiser that (Qatar) deal seriously with the demands and concerns of the neighbours or a divorce will take place,” he said.

The demands confirm that “the crisis is profound,” Gargash added.

Qatar faces a choice of either stability and prosperity, or isolation, he said.

“Perhaps the solution is in parting ways.”

Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

— US ‘mystified’ —

On June 5, Saudi Arabia and the UAE led a severing of all links with Qatar for allegedly supporting groups, including some backed by Iran, “that aim to destabilise the region”.

Other allies, including Egypt and Bahrain, followed.

Saudi Arabia regularly accuses Iran, its regional rival, of interference throughout the Middle East.

As well as cutting diplomatic ties, Qatar’s neighbours closed their air space to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirates’ only land border, vital for its food imports.

The list of 13 demands circulating on social media also says Qatar must cut ties to extremists including the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State group, Al-Qaeda and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.

Qatar is also required to hand over opposition figures wanted by its three neighbours and Egypt.

In addition to Al-Jazeera, it must shut online information sites that it supports, according to the reported demands.

“The brother (Qatar) must realise that the solution for its crisis lies not in Tehran or Beirut or Ankara or Western capitals or in media outlets, but in regaining the trust of its neighbours,” Gargash said.

“It is not possible to accept that the brother continues as the Trojan horse” in the Gulf or as a funder and “platform for an extremist agenda”, he added.

Earlier this week, a foreign diplomat told AFP the crisis had reached a “stalemate” and “won’t end soon”.

Tillerson said on Wednesday that Washington had been pushing for a clear list of grievances that are “reasonable and actionable”.

“Our role has been to encourage the parties to get their issues on the table, clearly articulated, so that those issues can be addressed and some resolution process can get underway to bring this to a conclusion,” he said.

His spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday the United States was “mystified” that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies had failed to present details justifying their embargo on Qatar.

US President Donald Trump, however, has made statements siding with Saudi Arabia in the crisis.

Related:

 (Includes links to earlier Saudi, Qatar dispute articles)

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Gulf states issue demands to end Qatar boycott — Compensation — 13-point list — 10 Days to comply

June 23, 2017

AFP

Bandar al-Jaloud / Saudi Royal Palace / AFP | Saudi King Salman (L) with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha on December 6, 2016.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-06-23

Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands Thursday to end the crisis.

They insist that their Persian Gulf neighbor shutter Al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran and sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a 13-point list — presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis — the countries also demand an end to Turkey’s military presence in Qatar. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain broke ties with Qatar this month over allegations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism — an accusation that President Donald Trump has echoed. Those countries have now given Qatar 10 days to comply with all of the demands, which include paying an unspecified sum in compensation.

Qatari officials in Doha did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP. But the list included conditions that the gas-rich nation had already insisted would never be met, including shutting down Al-Jazeera. Qatar’s government has said it won’t negotiate until Arab nations lift their blockade. The demands were also likely to elicit Qatari objections that its neighbors are trying to dictate its sovereign affairs by imposing such far-reaching requirements.

Only a day earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had warned the demands must be “reasonable and actionable.” The U.S. issued that litmus test amid frustration at how long it was taking Saudi Arabia and others to formalize a list of demands, complicating U.S. efforts to bring about a resolution to the worst Gulf diplomatic crisis in years.

Qatar hosts the largest US military base in the Mideast & is the staging ground for US missions against .http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/05/middleeast/qatar-us-largest-base-in-mideast/index.html 

Photo published for Qatar hosts largest US military base in Mideast

Qatar hosts largest US military base in Mideast

As Saudi Arabia, along with a growing list of other countries, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, it called on its allies to cease all travel and transport with its neighbor.

cnn.com

According to the list, 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 vehemently denies funding or supporting extremism. But the country acknowledges that it allows members of some extremist groups such as Hamas to reside in Qatar, arguing that fostering dialogue with those groups is key to resolving global conflicts.

Qatar’s neighbors have also accused it of backing al-Qaida and the Islamic State group’s ideology throughout the Middle East. Those umbrella groups also appear on the list of entities whose ties with Qatar must be extinguished, along with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the al-Qaida branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front.

More broadly, the list demands that Qatar align itself politically, economically and otherwise with the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional club that has focused on countering the influence of Iran. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-led nations have accused Qatar of inappropriately close ties to Iran, a Shiite-led country and Saudi Arabia’s regional foe.

QATAR’S ISOLATION IS A REGIONAL POWER PLAY

The Iran provisions in the document say Qatar must shut down diplomatic posts in Iran, kick out from Qatar any members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, and only conduct trade and commerce with Iran that complies with U.S. sanctions. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were eased but other sanctions remain in place.

Cutting ties to Iran would prove incredibly difficult. Qatar shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Iran which supplies the small nation that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup its wealth.

Image result for al jazeera, building, qatar, photos

Not only must Qatar shut down the Doha-based satellite broadcaster, the list says, but also all of its affiliates. That presumably would mean Qatar would have to close down Al-Jazeera’s English-language sister network.

Supported by Qatar’s government, Al-Jazeera is one of the most widely watched Arabic channels, but it has long drawn the ire of Mideast governments for airing alternative viewpoints. The network’s critics say it advances Qatar’s goals by promoting Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood that pose a populist threat to rulers in other Arab countries.

The list also demands that Qatar stop funding a host of other news outlets including Arabi21 and Middle East Eye.

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.

Related:

 (Includes links to Saudi, Qatar dispute articles)

Arab states send Qatar 13 demands to end crisis, official say

June 23, 2017

Reuters

Four Arab states boycotting Qatar over alleged support for terrorism have sent Doha a list of 13 demands including closing Al Jazeera television and reducing ties to their regional adversary Iran, an official of one of the four countries said.

The list, compiled by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain as the price for ending the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years, also demands the closing of a Turkish military base in Qatar, the official told Reuters.

Qatar must also announce it is severing ties with terrorist, ideological and sectarian organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Jabhat Fateh al Sham, formerly al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, he said, and surrender all designated terrorists on its territory,

The countries give Doha 10 days to comply, failing which the list becomes ‘void’, the official said without elaborating. The demands were handed to Qatar by Kuwait, which is mediating in the dispute, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The four Arab countries accuse Qatar of funding terrorism, fomenting regional instability and cozying up to revolutionary theocracy Iran. Qatar has denied the accusations.

U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a tough stance on Qatar, accusing it of being a “high level” sponsor of terrorism, but he has also offered help to the parties in the dispute to resolve their differences.

Turkey has backed Qatar during the three-week-old crisis. It sent its first ship carrying food aid to Qatar and dispatched a small contingent of soldiers and armored vehicles there on Thursday, while President Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Saudi Arabia’s leaders on calming tension in the region.

(Reporting by William Maclean; Editing by Rania El Gamal and Paul Tait)

Gaza restarts power station as Egypt fuel eases crisis

June 22, 2017
© AFP | Security forces stand guard as Egyptian trucks carrying fuel enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing on June 21, 2017
GAZA CITY (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – The Gaza Strip’s sole power station has been fired up again, the energy authority in the Palestinian enclave said Thursday, after fuel supplies from Egypt helped to ease an energy crisis.

The announcement came after Egypt delivered a million litres of fuel to the station on Wednesday, three days after Israel began cutting electricity supplies to Gaza.

The energy authority said two of the four generators at the power station had resumed operations and residents would now receive around six hours of mains power a day — up from as little as two earlier in the week.

The power plant, damaged by successive wars, was shut down in April after running out of fuel following a row between Gaza rulers Hamas and the internationally recognised Palestinian Authority over taxes.

Islamists Hamas seized control of Gaza from president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement in a near civil war in 2007 and multiple attempts at reconciliation have failed.

However, the Palestinian Authority had continued to pay Israel for some electricity delivered to Gaza until this month, with Abbas indicating they would no longer do so — — prompting the Israeli reductions.

Israel had been supplying 120 megawatts of electricity to Gaza a month, making up about a quarter of the territory’s needs, but announced it would cease to do so this week.

Hamas official Basem Naim said the electricity supplied by the power plant was just enough to balance out the reduction.

He told AFP the Egyptian delivery was an “important step,” obtained after a meeting between Egyptian leaders, Hamas and Abbas’ great rival Mohammed Dahlan — in exile in the United Arab Emirates after a dispute with Abbas.

“We must now find a definitive solution to the electricity crisis because its impact is catastrophic,” said Naim.

Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday accused Abbas of seeking to spark a fresh conflict by increasing human suffering in Gaza.

He said Abbas’ “intention is actually to continue cuts and in a few months to stop paying for fuel, medicines, salaries and many other things.”

“In my opinion the strategy is to hurt Hamas and also to drag Hamas into a conflict with Israel.”

UN Urges Egypt to Halt Execution of 6 Men in ‘Flawed’ Trials

June 22, 2017

CAIRO — U.N. human rights experts have urged Egypt to halt the execution of six men, sentenced to death over killing a policeman, saying that their trials were “flawed” and “did not meet international standards of fairness.”

Thursday’s statement comes after Egypt’s top appeals court upheld the death sentences against the men, charged with killing the guard of a judge who was on a panel of judges in the trial of former President Mohamed Morsi.

The guard was killed in 2014.

U.N rights experts say that evidence  used against the men, as well as testimonies from state security members, showed major inconsistencies.

Three of the men appeared on TV following their arrest and in the footage, confessed to carrying out the attack. Rights groups have said the testimonies were coerced through torture.

Asian Stocks Higher After Oil Prices Drag Down Wall Street

June 22, 2017

BEIJING — Asian financial markets were higher Wednesday after a plunge in oil prices dragged down energy stocks on Wall Street.

KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8 percent to 3,183.91 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent to 25,817.79. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was unchanged at 20,144.78 and Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.3 percent to 2,364.45. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.9 percent to 5,719.50 and India’s Sensex gained 0.6 percent to 31,463.02. Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and Singapore advanced while Philippines and Indonesia declined.

WALL STREET: Energy stocks dived as oil dropped to its lowest price since last summer. Gains for health care and technology stocks helped reduce losses for broader market indexes. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 0.1 percent to 2,435.61 and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent to 21,410.03. The Nasdaq composite rose 45.92, or 0.7 percent to 6,233.95. Energy stocks in the S&P 500 tumbled 1.6 percent, a day after falling 1.2 percent. They are down nearly 15 percent for the year, when the overall S&P 500 is up 8.8 percent.

OIL PRICES: The price of oil has dropped more than 20 percent this year, breaking into what traders call a bear market. On Wednesday, crude dropped for a third straight day and touched its lowest price since August on expectations supplies will exceed demand. That helps big consumers such as China and other Asian manufacturers but hurts the ability of exporting countries to pay their bills. Accelerating corporate profits have been a big reason for rise in U.S. stock prices this year, and energy companies had been forecast to provide some of the biggest gains.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Falling oil prices continue to dampen sentiment in global macro markets,” said Citigroup in a report. U.S. credit spreads are rising and concern in currency markets is increasing, they said. “Falling oil prices also hurts sentiment towards the higher-yielding emerging markets, but a steep drop in the price of oil usually spreads bearish sentiment more broadly.”

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 2 cents to $42.55 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 98 cents on Wednesday to close at $42.53. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 2 cents to $44.80 in London. It plunged $1.20 the previous session.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 111.04 yen from Wednesday’s 111.37 yen. The euro gained to $1.1173 from $1.1170.

Egypt tops up Gaza’s fuel supplies to ease electricity crisis

June 21, 2017

AFP

© JACK GUEZ / AFP | A picture shows an electric power plant on the Mediterranean coastal city of Ashkelon in southern Israel on June 19, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-06-21

Egypt began on Wednesday to deliver a million litres of fuel to Gaza, a Palestinian official said, in an attempt to ease the Palestinian enclave’s desperate electricity crisis.

The fuel, trucked in through the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza, will be routed to the territory’s only power station — closed for several months due to fuel shortages.

The deliveries come two days after Israel began reducing electricity supplies to Gaza, despite warnings the move could increase suffering and tensions.

Wael Abu Omar, head of media at the Rafah crossing, told AFP that eight shipments had entered, with a further 14 expected later in the day.

“A million litres (220,000 gallons) of fuel for the power plant will enter today,” he said.

The Israeli move had been set to leave Gazans with as little as two hours of mains electricity a day, prompting a UN warning that basic services in the enclave faced “total collapse”.