UAE: Arab states don't seek 'regime change' in Qatar

Gargash did not elaborate, but on Thursday the UAE and its allies Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain delivered a list of 13 demands to Qatar through mediator Kuwait, including one to close down Al-Jazeera broadcaster. The United Arab Emirates said the list was meant to be confidential.

Having urged Qatar's neighbors to come up with "reasonable and actionable" demands, the United States sought to distance itself from the crisis the day after the Arab countries issued a list that included several provisions Qatar had already declared it could not or would not accept.

He said it only confirmed that "the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar's sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy".

USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson struck a more nuanced tone, calling on the Arab countries to urgently resolve their differences.

The demands include shutting news outlets, including Al-Jazeera and its affiliates; curbing diplomatic relations with Iran; and severing all ties with Islamist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar was given 10 days to meet those demands, or the sanctions would continue indefinitely.

An unspecified sum in compensation was also requested, and as well as an agreement to shut down Turkey's military presence in Qatar.

Its neighbors have restricted air, sea and land links to the tiny emirate and levied trade bans, that have plunged the country into crisis.

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told reporters in Dubai that his country and its allies do not want "regime change" in Qatar, but a "behavioural change".

"The alternative is not escalation, the alternative is parting of ways, because it is very hard for us to maintain a collective grouping", Gargash said as cited by Reuters.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations of Doha's interference in other countries' domestic affairs and expressed regret over the decision of the Gulf States to cut off diplomatic ties with it. "It's about media freedom, the right of the people in the region to receive information and people around the world to get information about the Middle East", he added. If this ultimatum is not implemented there will be more than a blockade or breach of diplomatic ties.

Kuwait is helping mediate the dispute as is the United States, for which it has posed a challenging test since Qatar hosts a base housing the headquarters of US air power in the Middle East as well as 11,000 troops.

Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. US President Donald Trump, however, has made statements siding with Saudi Arabia in the crisis. "The demands are so aggressive that it makes it close to impossible to now see a resolution of that conflict", said Olivier Jakob, a strategist at Switzerland-based oil consultancy Petromatrix.

The United States is torn between the twin imperatives of counterterrorism and unity, both of which are important to American calculations and neither of which can be discarded. Ibrahim Fraihat, Conflict Resolution Professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, forecast a prolonged stand-off. "Imagine another country demanding that CNN be closed", 40-year-old Haseeb Mansour, who works for telecom operator Ooredoo, said.

Tillerson has sought to mediate but the White House has been more hands-off, describing the diplomatic crisis as a "family issue" on Friday. It remains to be seen whether Washington believes that all 13 items meet that standard.

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