Qatar given 48 hours to ac­cept de­mands

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

DOHA — A group of Arab na­tions on Mon­day ex­tended a dead­line for Qatar to re­spond to their list of de­mands in a diplo­matic cri­sis roil­ing the Gulf by 48 hours, say­ing Kuwait’s emir re­quested the de­lay as part of his ef­forts to me­di­ate the dis­pute.

Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Egypt and Bahrain cut off ties with 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar on June 5, re­strict­ing ac­cess to their airspace and ports and seal­ing Qatar’s only land bor­der, which it shares with Saudi Ara­bia.

They is­sued a 13-point list of de­mands to end the stand­off on June 22 and gave the nat­u­ral gas-rich coun­try 10 days to com­ply.

The joint state­ment on Mon­day by the na­tions said they ex­pected Qatar to re­spond to their de­mands later in the day. The new dead­line would ex­pire late on Tues­day or early Wed­nes­day. Foreign min­is­ters of the four coun­tries were sched­uled to meet Wed­nes­day in Cairo to dis­cuss their next moves, Egypt said on Mon­day.

“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 said.

We are ready. We stand ready to de­fend our coun­try. I hope that we don’t come to a stage where, you know, a mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion is made.”

Khalid bin Mo­hammed al-At­tiyah, Qatari de­fense min­is­ter

Trump urges unity

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, mean­while, spoke with Qatar’s emir, Tamim bin Ha­mad Al Thani, 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.

Qatar, like the coun­tries lined up against it, is a US ally. It hosts 10,000 US troops at the sprawl­ing al-Udeid Air Base. The desert fa­cil­ity is home to the for­ward head­quar­ters of the US Cen­tral Com­mand and has been a key stag­ing ground for the cam­paign against the Is­lamic State ex­trem­ists and the war in Afghanistan.

The four na­tions cut ties to Qatar over al­le­ga­tions it sup­ports ex­trem­ists and over wor­ries it main­tains too-close ties to Iran. Qatar has de­nied such claims.

“We are ready. We stand ready to de­fend our coun­try. I hope that we don’t come to a stage where, you know, a mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion is made,” Qatari De­fense Min­is­ter Khalid bin Mo­hammed al-At­tiyah told Sky News.

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