• Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Qatar crisis deadline extended by 2 days as nation responds

  • Published at 12:20 pm July 4th, 2017
Qatar crisis deadline extended by 2 days as nation responds

Arab nations isolating Qatar extended a deadline Monday for the energy rich country to respond to their demands by another 48 hours, allowing its top diplomat to carry a handwritten response to Kuwait’s ruler in an effort to end the diplomatic crisis.

Whether another two days will be enough to end the crisis, however, may be a stretch.

The crisis began June 5, as the countries cut off diplomatic ties to Qatar over their allegations that the world’s top producer of liquefied natural gas uses its wealth to fund extremist groups and has overly warm ties to Iran. Qatar long has denied funding terrorists, while it maintains communication with Iran as the two countries share a massive offshore natural gas field.

UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said on Tuesday that Arab countries were still awaiting a response to their demands via mediator Kuwait. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt are pressing Qatar to shut its al-Jazeera news TV station and scale back relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch-rival in the Gulf region, part of 13 demands they want Doha to fulfill to end the crisis. Qatar has said it delivered a response to mediator Kuwait, which will be discussed by the four countries at a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday after their deadline for Doha to accept the demands expires late on Tuesday. "We are still waiting for the response from our brothers in Kuwait regarding the response that they received from Qatar and once we examine it among ourselves we will take the decision of course," Sheikh Abdullah said at a news conference with his German counterpart in Abu Dhabi. Officials from the UAE and Saudi Arabia have suggested that further sanctions, including the possibility of kicking out Qatar from the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, could be imposed if Doha failed to heed the demands.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump spoke with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim, as well as King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.

The White House said Trump urged unity and reiterated the importance of stopping terrorist financing and discrediting extremist ideology. A separate statement carried on the official Qatar News Agency said the emir’s discussion with Trump touched on the need to fight terrorism and extremism in all its forms and sources, and was a chance for the countries to review their bilateral strategic relations.

Trump later tweeted: “Spoke yesterday with the King of Saudi Arabia about peace in the Middle-East. Interesting things are happening!”

What comes next remains in question. If Qatar doesn’t agree to the demands, the nations could push forward with financial sanctions or pushing the country out of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional body that serves as a counterbalance to Iran. Some Arab media outlets have gone as far as suggesting a military confrontation or new leadership be installed in Qatar.

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