Qatar responds to Arab bloc demands after 48-hour extension

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  July 3, 2017 at 9:14 AM
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July 3 (UPI) -- Qatar was given a 48-hour extension to respond to demands of four Arab nations which cut ties with it, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Monday.

The extension came after a request by the Emir of Kuwait, who is acting as a mediator, and after a prior 10-day extension. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt froze economic, diplomtic and transportation ties with Qatar in early June over its alleged support of terrorism, and gave Qatar 10 days to meet a list of 13 demands.

Qatar's response to the demands was delivered Monday to Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, Kuwait's emir, by Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani. No details of the reply were announced. The demands include a reduction of Qatari ties to Iran, the closure of the state-funded news network Al Jazeera, an end to the development of a military base in Turkey and the cutting of alleged funding to extremist organizations which include Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi Foreign Miniter Adel a-Jubeir said last week that the list of demands was "non-negotiable." Al-Thani said during the weekend that the list was "made to be rejected" and added that "Qatar is prepared to face whatever consequences."

The White House, in a statement, said President Donald Trump spoke over the weekend in separate telephone calls with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar and "reiterated the importance of stopping terrorist financing and discrediting extremist ideology."

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called for dialogue between the countries involved in the dispute, although he admitted Qatar would find it "very difficult" to comply with all the demands. Qatar, a U.S. ally, is host to the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East.

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