The United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, today vowed that his country would never back down over the list of 13 demands being imposed on neighboring Qatar, insisting that all of he issues are vital and “affect all of us.”
The list of demands includes paying fines and shutting down all state media in the country, and also includes demands Qatar close all diplomatic facilities they have in Iran while seriously curtailing trade. This is likely to be seen as particularly hypocritical of the UAE to insist on, since they have closer ties to Iran than Qatar does, and are bigger traders with their large neighbor across the Persian Gulf.
Otaiba, however, insisted that if Qatar doesn’t submit to every single demand, they will face the continuation of the blockade by themselves, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt. This blockade initially inconvenienced Qatar quick a bit, closing its only land border and cutting its airline off from several neighbors, but a shift to buying food and water from Iran and Turkey has mostly allowed the economy to continue unhindered.
Otaiba also complained about the fact that the 13 demands are now a matter of public record, accusing Qatar of having “leaked” the list to try to have it “litigated in public.” Given the nature of some of the demands, it does make the nations making the demands appear particularly heavy-handed and unreasonable, so if that was the reasoning behind the leak, it may have been a smart one.
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