All sides stand­ing ground as Gulf dead­line ‘ex­pires’

Qatar re­jects ul­ti­ma­tum, could face fresh sanc­tions

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

DUBAI/DOHA: Qatar faces pos­si­ble fur­ther sanc­tions by Arab states that have sev­ered ties with Doha over al­le­ga­tions of links to ter­ror­ism, as a dead­line to ac­cept their de­mands was ex­pected to ex­pire yesterday night. Qatari Foreign Min­is­ter Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Ab­dul­rah­man Al-Thani said the de­mands were made to be re­jected, adding that the Arab ul­ti­ma­tum was aimed not at tack­ling ter­ror­ism but at cur­tail­ing his coun­try’s sovereignty.

But he told re­porters in Rome that Doha re­mained ready to sit down and dis­cuss the griev­ances raised by its Arab neigh­bors. “This list of de­mands is made to be re­jected. It’s not meant to be ac­cepted or ... to be ne­go­ti­ated,” Sheikh Mo­hammed said. “The state of Qatar in­stead of re­ject­ing it as a prin­ci­ple, we are will­ing to en­gage in (di­a­logue), pro­vid­ing the proper con­di­tions for fur­ther di­a­logue.” He added that no one had the right to is­sue an ul­ti­ma­tum to a sovereign coun­try.

The feud erupted last month when Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Bahrain and Egypt sev­ered diplo­matic and travel ties with Qatar, ac­cus­ing it of sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism and be­ing an ally of re­gional foe Iran, charges that Doha de­nies. The coun­tries have threat­ened fur­ther sanc­tions against Qatar if it does not com­ply with their list of 13 de­mands pre­sented to Doha by Kuwaiti me­di­a­tors 10 days ago. The de­mands in­clude clos­ing a Turk­ish mil­i­tary base in Qatar and shut­ting the Al Jazeera pan-Arab tele­vi­sion net­work, which Doha also re­jected. Qatar’s Gulf crit­ics ac­cuse Al Jazeera of be­ing a plat­form for ex­trem­ists and an agent of in­ter­fer­ence in their affairs. The net­work has re­jected the ac­cu­sa­tions and said it will main­tain its ed­i­to­rial in­de­pen­dence.

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