03:19 GMT30 October 2020
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    The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is going to use its expertise to find out the truth behind the allegations against Qatar, the Foreign Ministry has said.

    The German Federal Intelligence Service will investigate the allegations made by some Arab countries that Qatar supports terrorism, the German Foreign Minister pledged on a trip to the Gulf region this week.

    "The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is to help to clarify the accusations against Qatar. To this end, closer cooperation between the two countries' secret services was agreed during Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel's visit to the Gulf emirate," a source in the German delegation to Qatar told the Die Zeit newspaper.

    On Monday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel arrived in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of a three-day visit to the Gulf region. He also visited the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait; the latter is helping to mediate the crisis.

    On June 5, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, alleging that the Gulf nation supports terrorists and militant groups with ties to Iran.  They also imposed an economic and transport blockade, which ended air links with Doha and closed the crossing at Qatar's only land border with Saudi Arabia.

    Via Kuwait, last week the four countries handed a list of demands to Qatar that Doha must fulfil in order to have the blockade lifted.

    The ultimatum demands that Qatar, among other things, cut its ties with Iran, close the Turkish military base on its soil and shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliates. Other demands call on Doha to publically denounce relations with Islamist groups, end its suspected financing of terrorism and hand over persons designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. Moreover, financial compensation is demanded of Qatar, although the sum was not reported.

    Qatar has refused to bow to the demands and did not meet the initial ten-day deadline for a response to the ultimatum. After a two-day extension it offered a response on Wednesday, which was rejected by the four countries, who said the response "was overall negative and lacked any content."

    Speaking after a meeting with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Doha on Tuesday, Gabriel praised Doha's "really restrained" reaction to the conflict.

    "Qatar has not taken counter-measures, has not considered how it can attack the other countries in a similar way, economically or politically, but from the first minute has tried to ask for dialogue," Gabriel said.

    For his part, Al-Thani said that the demands made by Saudi Arabia and its allies are "unrealistic and cannot be met." 

    Gabriel, the former Social Democratic Party leader, has criticized Saudi Arabia in the past for supporting terrorism, the same accusation that Riyadh has now levelled at Doha.

    "Wahhabi mosques all over the world are being financed from Saudi Arabia, and in Germany a lot of Islamic militants come from these communities," Gabriel told Bild am Sonntag in December 2015.


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