Arab countries extend Qatar demands deadline by 48 hours

Ahram Online , Monday 3 Jul 2017

The foreign ministers of Egypt, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are set to meet in Cairo on Wednesday to decide on next steps in the standoff against Doha

Qatar crisis
From L to R: Leaders of UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait and Qatar

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have extended the deadline by which they insist Qatar must meet certain demands to Wednesday, at the request of mediator Kuwait.

Ten days ago the bloc presented Qatar with a 13-point list of demands, with a deadline of the evening of Sunday 2 July, which include cutting ties with Iran, halting support for groups such as Hezbollah and Daesh as well as shutting down AlJazeera TV network.

On 5 June the four countries severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting Iran and terrorism, which Doha has denied.

"In response to a request from the Amir of state of Kuwait Shiekh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah to extend the grace period offered to Qatar to 48 hours, based on the affirmation of the Qatari government to his Highness that it will send its official response regarding the list of demands addressed to it by Monday, the four countries announce their approval to the Emir of Kuwait's request,” the four countries said in a joint statement, as reported by the Saudi official news agency SPA.

"The response of the four states will then be sent following the study of the Qatari government's response and assessment of its response to the whole demands," the statement added.

Late on Sunday, before the postponment, US President Donald Trump spoke to the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in the UAE separately to voice his "concerns about the ongoing dispute."

"The president also underscored that unity in the region is critical to accomplishing the Riyadh Summit's goals of defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability," the WHite House said in a statement adding that "President Trump, nevertheless, believes that the overriding objective of his initiative is the cessation of funding for terrorism."

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain are set to hold a meeting this Wednesday in Cairo to decide on next steps over Qatar.

In a statement on Sunday evening, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said the meeting comes at an invitation from Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to his Gulf counterparts.

“The meeting comes in the frame of coordinating stances, and consultations between the four countries to decide on future steps on dealing with Qatar, as well as an exchange of visions and evaluation over international and regional calls over the matter,” the statement read. 

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