Four Arab states accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism agreed Monday to a proposal by Kuwait to extend the deadline for Qatar’s response to the demands list by 48 hours, the official Saudi news agency SPA reported.
With the deadline expiring at the end of Sunday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt decided to give Doha an extension to respond positively to their demands after a request by Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator in the Gulf crisis.
The Kuwaiti government had requested the extension following Qatar’s announcement that it was due to hand over its response to Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Monday.
On June 23, the four Arab states issued a list of 13 demands to end the rift with Doha including closing Al-Jazeera television and cutting diplomatic ties with Iran.
They severed ties with Qatar on June 5 over its alleged support for terrorism.
Qatar has called the charges baseless and its foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, said the stiff demands, which include ejecting Turkish troops based there, should be rejected.
Top diplomats of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday reiterated the stance of the Gulf state and its Arab allies led by Saudi Arabia that Qatar must give in and fulfill the 13 demands to curb “extremism and the support of terrorism.”
Earlier in the day, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted that brotherly states should “step away from the battle and realize the consequences of their isolation,” without naming Qatar.
Gargash also re-tweeted a CNN interview excerpt of UAE Ambassador to Russia, Omar Ghobash, saying “59 individuals and 12 entities … accused of extremism and terrorism … based in Qatar. These people are also listed as terrorists by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.”
Last Friday, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have issued a list of 13 demands to end rift with Doha including closing Al-Jazeera television and cutting diplomatic ties with Iran.
The four Arab states severed ties with Qatar on June 5 over its alleged support for terrorism.
The list also demanded Qatar to kick members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard out of Qatar and cut off any joint military cooperation with Iran.
Qatar was also required to sever all ties with “terrorist organizations” including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State group, al-Qaida, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Qatar responded to the list earlier in the week, saying the list of the 13 demands was “not reasonable,” denying the charges of supporting extremist groups.
On June 6, the Arab quartet has also imposed a partial land, sea and air embargo for Qatari-owned means of transport including state-owned Qatar Airways.
The gas-rich Gulf state which shares only one land border with Saudi Arabia has since then mostly sourced its food and materials needs from Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Oman, according to media reports.
Qatar is a member of Gulf Cooperation Council, together with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.
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