The four Arab nations spearheading a boycott of Qatar have shelved the request to shutter Al Jazeera, the Middle East’s biggest broadcaster, from its list of demands. Last month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed their diplomatic ties with Qatar, asserting that the country funded terrorism, and issued the emirate a list of 13 demands – including shutting down Al Jazeera and cutting ties to Iran – in order to lift the block.
But on Wednesday, diplomats from the four neighboring nations told reporters at the UN that they were now willing to accept just six broad principles and had therefore scrapped the demand that called on the country to shut down the major broadcasting network. The six principles now include commitments to fight terrorism and extremism and to end acts of provocation.
In June, the four countries closed their airspace to the country’s Qatar Airways after asserting the nation funded terrorism, an accusation Qatar steadfastly denies The four nations also initiated an economic blockade, thereby isolating the small, but oil-and-gas-rich nation’s border from Saudi Arabia, its only land link to the rest of the world for imports.
Qatar has since rejected the demands as violations of its sovereignty, labelling them an “affront to international law.” Al Jazeera, a Doha-funded network, has also condemned the demands saying that they are “nothing but an attempt to silence the freedom of expression in the region.”
At the time of publication, Qatar had not immediately responded to the new propositions.