Qatar continues with negative response to the demands

Jul 07, 2017, 00:45
Qatar continues with negative response to the demands

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, meeting in Cairo, "regret the negative response from Qatar", they said in a statement.

"Qatar will never do", Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said.

Qatar faces further isolation and possible expulsion from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) if its response to a list of demands made almost two weeks ago is not satisfactory, state-backed Gulf media said on Wednesday.

Qatari officials have repeatedly said the demands are so draconian that they suspect the four countries never seriously meant to negotiate them, and were instead seeing to hobble Doha's sovereignty.

Earlier, the four Arab countries issued a 13-point list of demands on June 22, giving Qatar 10 days to respond. The deadline, which had been extended, expired Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

There was no word yet on what went on during the Cairo meeting, but a news conference was due later in the day.

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Arab states that have imposed sanctions on Qatar, accusing it of links to terrorism, were due to meet in Cairo on Wednesday to consider Doha's response to a stiff ultimatum, but settlement of the dispute seemed far off.

A list of demands by Saudi Arabia and its allies, which included the closure of the Turkish base in Qatar, to restore diplomatic ties with Qatar are "unrealistic in terms of Doha's sovereignty", he added.

The lack of a plan highlighted the delicate position the alliance is in as both sides dig into their positions. Moreover, financial compensation is demanded of Qatar, although the sum was not reported.

The countries in question claimed that Qatar supports terrorist groups such as ISIS ("Islamic State in Iraq and Syria"), al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood as well as the Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen, and that Qatar threatens their national security.

In addition, Doha excludes the possibility of closing the Turkish military base, arguing that the Charter of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCCC) does not prohibit such cooperation with other countries. He suggested Qatar was preparing for a more protracted rift.

UAE's Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan used a harsher tone in his criticism of Qatar, saying it is only interested in "destruction, incitement, extremism and terrorism".

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"We now have this opportunity to reach good results for the benefit of the whole region. Now we can start looking into the (terror) allegations", said Gabriel.

"We, as Al-Jazeera employees, will continue to work with professionalism, until the very last moment".

"We remain loyal to our agreement with Qatar".

As its only land border is now closed, food is having to be shipped or flown in. Its economy, fueled by its natural gas exports, seems to be weathering the crisis, though there has been pressure on its stock market and currency.

Ratings agency Moody's has cut Qatar's sovereign credit rating from stable to negative because of the standoff.

Yet, the Saudi-led coalition has decided not to introduce further sanctions against Qatar for the time being.

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