Qatar FM: Al-Jazeera Off the Table in Any Negotiations

News Broadcaster Won't Be Shut Down in Attempt to End Blockade

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani today vowed that al-Jazeera was officially “off the table” with respect to any negotiations with the rest of the GCC member nations aimed at ending a diplomatic split which has led to the imposition of a blockade by Saudi Arabia and several other key trading partners.

Qatari Foreign Minister Al-Thani

Saudi Arabia in particular has long criticized al-Jazeera for taking positions contrary to Saudi official policy, and for giving a voice to opposition parties in nations that heavily suppress opposition political speech, and among their demands in last week’s ultimatum, Saudi Arabia demanded that Qatar shut down al-Jazeera forever.

Qatari officials had already rejected the Saudi demands, and Thani today reiterated that al-Jazeera was considered part of Qatar’s “internal affairs,” and the popular regional broadcaster would not be sacrificed as part of any negotiations to end the blockade.

Al-Jazeera’s willingness to air both sides of controversial issues is all but unheard of in Middle East media, and the anti-Qatar crowd have used this fact as part of their narrative that the Qatari government is fomenting “extremism” across the region, with most of the sorest points in al-Jazeera’s broadcast history boiling down to their coverage of the Arab Spring and support for pro-democracy protesters in places like Egypt.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.