Qatar responds after Arab nations extend deadline

A huge painting of Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, in a Doha public area. Qatar's Gulf neighbours plus Egypt are demanding that Doha ends its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, close broadcaster Al Jazeera and downgrade diplomatic ties wi
A huge painting of Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, in a Doha public area. Qatar's Gulf neighbours plus Egypt are demanding that Doha ends its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, close broadcaster Al Jazeera and downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran, among other conditions.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUWAIT CITY • Qatar yesterday delivered its official response to the 13 demands made by the Saudi- led coalition that cut diplomatic and transport links with the country, as United States President Donald Trump and Kuwait's ruler stepped up efforts to resolve the month-long crisis.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdulrahman Al Thani hand-delivered the reply to Kuwait's Emir in his Al Bayan Palace, Kuwait's official news agency reported, without providing details of what it contained.

The coalition, which also includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, had given Qatar a 10-day deadline to comply that ended yesterday, before agreeing to a 48-hour extension at the request of the Kuwaiti ruler.

The four countries accuse Qatar of supporting extremist groups, a charge it denies.

The list of demands includes cutting back ties with Iran, severing links with the Muslim Brotherhood group and shutting its broadcast network Al Jazeera.

Qatari officials have said the requirements were unreasonable and vowed to withstand the isolation.

UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said he hoped that Kuwait's efforts would yield results and allow Qatar to "review" its position.

"Wisdom is needed, and the alternative is difficult for all of us," he said on Twitter.

Mr Trump, meanwhile, has spoken with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar to discuss the crisis.

While the US President has publicly sided with the kingdom, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that Qatar would find it "very difficult" to comply with some of the coalition's requests.

The countries involved in the worst crisis to hit the Gulf Cooperation Council are all close US allies.

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE are set to meet tomorrow in Cairo to discuss the latest developments, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2017, with the headline 'Qatar responds after Arab nations extend deadline'. Print Edition | Subscribe