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Bahrain's foreign minister calls for prosecution of Al Jazeera

Bahrain's FM Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa at a GCC summit in Riyadh [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 April, 2018

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The Bahraini official said that in addition to the 13 demands issued by a Saudi-led anti-Qatar bloc to Doha, is that Al Jazeera should be prosecuted for 'spreading lies'.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa called for the prosecution of Al Jazeera for "spreading lies and rumours that cause confusion in our countries".

Khalifa said on Twitter on Saturday that prosecuting Al Jazeera should be demand "number 14", a reference to the list of 13 demands made by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to Doha to end the blockade on Qatar.

The crisis began in June 2017 when the countries introduced a land, air and sea blockade of Qatar. The Saudi-led bloc charged the emirate with supporting terrorism and being an ally of Iran, charges Doha vehemently denies.

Among the 13 demands are shutting a number of media outlets, including Al Jazeera and The New Arab, as well as curbing relations with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in the country. 

Tensions between Bahrain and Qatar have escalated in recent months. Last month, Qatar filed a complaint with the UN alleging that a Bahraini war plane violated its airspace.

A dispute over airspace violations erupted again this weekend.

The UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said in March it has not dealt with airspace disputes like the Gulf one in its 70 years of existence. The group also said it would establish a formal advisory communication with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to end airspace-related disputes. 

US President Donald Trump had initially supported the blockade on Qatar, but aides - mindful of the pivotal role that the al-Udeid Air Base outside Doha plays - have since convinced him to take a different approach.

During a phone call between Trump and Saudi King Salman earlier this month, Trump reportedly struck a "forceful tone" and demanded swift action to end the conflict.

Doha has long called for dialogue to end the diplomatic crisis.

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