Saudi Arabia is planning on closing down the office of Al Jazeera in the next few days as the conflict with Qatar continues to escalate, a London-based Arab daily reported on Monday.
In an unprecedented move within the Gulf Cooperation Council of allied hereditary monarchies, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar on March 5, accusing Doha of failing to abide by an accord not to interfere in each others’ internal affairs.
A Saudi official told Al-Hayat that in addition to the decision to close the Qatar based network, Saudi authorities will prevent Saudi journalists from cooperating with the network or other Qatari media.
A Saudi Information Ministry source denied reports that it would close Al Jazeera’s offices. “We don’t have any plan to close the channel’s offices,” the Arab News website reported.
Al Jazeera is accused by its opponents of fomenting the unrest that was behind the Arab uprisings in recent years. It is also accused of favoring the Muslim Brotherhood and revolutionary Islamic forces.
Qatar on Monday again dismissed demands by three fellow Gulf Arab states for changes to its foreign policy, calling its independence “nonnegotiable,” in a further sign that it will continue to aid Islamists such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Reuters contributed to this report.