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U.A.E Official Calls On U.S., EU To Help ‘Guarantee’ Any Qatar Agreement Over Dispute


United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Anwar Qarqash poses for a picture during an interview with AFP in his office in Dubai, June 7, 2017

A top United Arab Emirates official said monitors from the United States and European Union would be needed to “guarantee” any potential agreement aimed at ending the dispute between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors.

The crisis erupted on June 5 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, and others broke ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing extremism, a claim Doha denies.

Anwar Gargash, the Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs, on June 24 said the dispute could be resolved "through diplomacy if Qatar renounces its support for extremism and terrorism."

"If Qatar follows the path of wisdom...we would need a system of guarantees and controls" in order to implement an accord with Doha, he said, adding the need for "European and American guarantees."

"We don't want European mediation, and I don't think the Europeans want to be mediators. Their role should be to put pressure on Qatar," said Gargash.

The U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain on June 22 set out a list of 13 demands to Qatar through mediator Kuwait, including one to close down Al-Jazeera broadcaster, and it gave Doha 10 days to accept the demands.

Other demands called for Doha to cut most ties with Iran and close a Turkish air base on its territory.

The demands called for the creation of a 10-year mechanism to ensure Qatar is complying with the agreement.

Earlier, Gargash called on Western nations including the United States, France, Germany, and Britain to help monitor any agreement reached with Doha.

"They have the diplomatic clout and technical know-how," Gargash said.

Qatar on June 24 called the demands "unreasonable.

"This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning: The illegal blockade has nothing to do with combatting terrorism. It is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy," said Sheikh Saif al-Thani, director of Qatar's government communications office.

Thani said the demands are not "reasonable and actionable" -- two criteria laid down by the U.S. State Department this week in an attempt to mediate the dispute.

Gargash denied his country and its allies want "regime change" in Qatar, but a "behavioral change."

"The alternative is not escalation. The alternative is parting of ways," he said. "It's very difficult for us to maintain a collective grouping with one of the partners ... actively promoting what is an extremist and terrorist agenda."

The State Department did not comment on the list of demands on June 23, but the White House appeared to distance itself from the dispute, calling it a "family issue" that should be sorted out among the Arab states.

Qatar is home to the Al Udeid forward base for U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations not only in Syria, but also Iraq and Afghanistan. Some 10,000 U.S. military personnel are stationed there.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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