Qatar to respond after Arab nations extend deadline

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Qatar to respond after Arab nations extend deadline

Arab nations have extended a deadline for Qatar to respond to their list of demands in a diplomatic crisis rocking the Gulf, saying Kuwait's emir requested the delay in his effort to mediate in the dispute.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt were "studying" a list of potential political and economic sanctions against Qatar after it rejected the list of demands, Al Arabiya said.

Doha will deliver a formal response letter to Kuwait, the main mediator in the crisis, later today.

With Qatar already hit by a raft of punitive restrictions, the bloc could let Monday's deadline pass without imposing further measures.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani made the comments on Washington, DC, on Thursday, the last day of a visit to the United States where he had been holding a series of key meetings aimed at resolving the crisis.

"If the Qatari rulers insist on rejecting the demands of the four countries and decide to escalate the situation and scramble for countries with ambitions in the region such as Turkey and Iran, we hope our Sudanese brothers will take a clear stance", he said. Its people follow an ultraconservative form of Islam known as Wahhabism, though unlike neighbouring Saudi Arabia, women can drive and foreigners can drink alcohol. "We really appreciate the relationship we have with Turkey", he said.

"If countries are looking to close down Al Jazeera, then they should start a news organization that can rival it", he said in a press conference in Rome yesterday, "for us, it is a source of pride".

Qatar has denied the other Arabs' accusations and said such charges are baseless.

Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs
Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and U.A.E. are set to meet on July 5 in Cairo to discuss the latest developments, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

Qatar, like the countries lined up against it, is a USA ally.

The four nations have also pointed to Qatar's close relationship with Iran, with which it shares a massive offshore gas field that provides the peninsular nation its wealth.

The Dubai-based broadcaster said one possible punishment would be suspending Qatar from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a US -allied bloc. Qatari citizens were ordered to leave the countries and various steps were taken against Qatari companies and financial institutions.

The full list is: Bahrain, UAE, Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Eastern government of Libya, Maldives, Mauritania and Senegal.

Qatar is accused by it neighbors of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the Gulf region, while at the same time hosting the regions largest US Military base.

He added that the relevant sides to the crisis in Syria have focused attention on Qatar and the crisis in its relations with certain Arab states, specially Saudi Arabia.

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