Qatar remains adamant as Saudi extends deadline to resolve Gulf rift

Qatar remains adamant as Saudi extends deadline to resolve Gulf rift

BY BBC  NEWS/NAMULONGO PETER,3RD JUNLY 2017-Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states have extended the deadline for Qatar to accept a list of demands, or face further sanctions, by 48 hours.

The initial deadline for Qatar to agree to the group’s 13 demands, including the shutting down of the Al Jazeera news network, expired on Sunday.

The Gulf state, which denies funding extremism, is expected to submit a formal response later.

It has called the demands an “affront to international law”.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani arrived in Kuwait on Monday to deliver a formal response in a letter, according to Al Jazeera. The letter is from the emir of Qatar to the emir of Kuwait, who is the main mediator in the Gulf crisis.

In a statement released shortly beforehand, lawyers for Qatar denounced the demands and called for international condemnation.

They said the tactics were “reminiscent of the extreme and punitive conduct of ‘bully’ states that have historically resulted in war”.

“The world must unite immediately to halt the singling out of Qatar for unjustified collective punishment and humiliation and to preserve peace, security and prosperity in the region.”

Qatar has been under unprecedented diplomatic and economic sanctions for weeks from Saudi Arabia and its allies, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.

On 23 June, they set a deadline of 10 days for Qatar to agree to their requirements, which include the closure of a Turkish military base and the curbing of diplomatic relations with Iran.

The four countries, whose foreign ministers will meet on Wednesday to discuss the situation, severed diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar on 5 June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being an ally of regional foe Iran, charges that Doha denies.

The imposed restrictions have caused turmoil in Qatar, an oil- and gas-rich nation dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of its population of 2.7 million. As a result, Iran and Turkey have been increasingly supplying it with food and other goods.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain have accused Qatar of harbouring Islamist groups that they consider terrorist organisations – including the Muslim Brotherhood – and giving them a platform on the Al Jazeera satellite channel, which is funded by the Qatari state.

 

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