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 (UAE), 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. One day later, the four Arab countries imposed a partial land, sea and air embargo on Qatari-owned means of transport, including state-owned Qatar Airways. 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.
However, the Qatari foreign minister noted that Qatar is willing to engage in providing the proper conditions for further dialogue. The crisis has drawn worldwide concern. Further measures reportedly would be imposed if Qatar fails to yield, which might include steps against Qatari companies and financial institutions and expelling Doha from the Gulf Cooperation Council.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash on Wednesday reiterated in Germany that the stance of the four Arab countries is that Qatar must give in and fulfill the 13 demands.
It is reported that UAE Ambassador to Russia Omar Ghobash had said that 59 individuals and 12 entities based in Qatar have been accused of extremism and terrorism, and these people were also listed as terrorists by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has called for a dialogue to end the crisis as he is starting a tour of the Arab states on Monday, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. He said that Germany is worried about the distrust and disunity in the region.