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qatar isolation

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which lead a boycott against Qatar, have described Doha’s rejection of their demands as a threat to regional security.

In a statement, the Saudi-led bloc also warned of unspecified new measures.

Last month they cut all ties with Qatar, in effect imposing a land blockade on the tiny emirate.

Qatar Crisis to Be Discussed in Cairo

They demanded that Qatar shut down Al Jazeera TV, reduce ties with Iran and end its alleged support for jihadists.

Image source Flickr

Earlier this week Qatar rejected the four Gulf states’ ultimatum. It denies the allegations against it.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected on July 10 to visit Kuwait, which is mediating the Gulf crisis.

Qatar Rejects List of Conditions for Lifting Sanctions

In a July 6 statement, the bloc said Qatar’s rejection of their 13 demands “reflects its intention to continue its policy, aimed at destabilizing security in the region”.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also threatened new political and economic measures against Qatar, without providing any further details.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has described the cutting of ties with his country as “a siege that is a clear aggression and an insult”.

He said earlier this week: “The answer to our disagreement is not blockades and ultimatums, it is dialogue and reason.”

Qatar is dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of its population of 2.7 million.

As Qatar’s only land border is now closed, food is having to be shipped or flown in.

Four Gulf countries are to discuss the Qatar crisis, a month after they severed ties with the state.

The meeting of foreign ministers of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Cairo comes on the day a deadline expires for Qatar to accept a list of demands or face further sanctions.

The demands to Qatar including shutting down the Al Jazeera network and scaling down ties with Iran.

Qatar has called the list of demands “unrealistic and not actionable”.

Qatar Crisis: Gulf Countries Extend Demands List Deadline by 48 Hours

The country is accused of destabilizing the region by supporting extremism and terrorism – which it denies.

Image source Wikimedia

Qatar has been under unprecedented diplomatic and economic sanctions from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain.

The restrictions have caused turmoil in the oil- and gas-rich nation, which is dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of its population of 2.7 million.

Qatar Rejects List of Conditions for Lifting Sanctions

On July 3, Saudi Arabia and its allies gave Qatar an extra two days to accept their ultimatum for restoring relations, after an earlier 10-day deadline expired.

The authorities in Doha have responded to the demands – but no details have been publicly released. Qatar has said the demands break international law.

On July 4, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani described the demands as unrealistic.

“It’s not about terrorism, it’s talking about shutting down the freedom of speech,” he said.

The four Gulf countries accuse Qatar of harboring Islamist groups that they consider terrorist organizations – including the Muslim Brotherhood – and giving them a platform on the Al Jazeera channel, which is funded by the Qatari state.

Qatar denies the accusations.

As a result of the sanctions, Iran and Turkey have been increasingly supplying Qatar with food and other goods.

On July 4, Qatar announced plans for a steep rise in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) production capacity over the coming years.

Qatar is the world’s leading producer of LNG.

President Donald Trump has claimed credit for the isolation of Qatar by its Gulf neighbors who accuse it of supporting terrorism in the region.

The president said his recent visit to Saudi Arabia was “already paying off” and the development might mark the “beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism”.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives have all cut diplomatic and other ties with Qatar.

Qatar strongly denies the allegations.

President Trump’s recent speech in Riyadh, in which he blamed Iran for instability in the Middle East and urged Muslim countries to take the lead in combating radicalization, is seen as likely to have emboldened Gulf allies to act against Qatar.

Image source Wikimedia

He tweeted on June 6: “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!”

The president later added: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding… extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

Qatar is home to the biggest US military air base in the Middle East, with about 8,000 personnel based at al-Udeid.

The official statement from White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the US was in communication with all parties “to resolve issues and restore co-operation”.

In the same week as Donald Trump’s Riyadh speech, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE blocked Qatari news sites, including Al Jazeera.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE gave Qatari nationals two weeks to leave, banned their own citizens from traveling to Qatar, and cut all transport links.

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on June 6 that the economic measures should persuade Qatar to change its policies and behave “like a normal country”.

Speaking in Paris, he called on Qatar’s rulers to end their support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian militant group Hamas and what he called “hostile media”.

“We believe that common sense and logic and will convince Qatar to take the right steps,” Adel al-Jubeir said.

The emir of Kuwait – one of the Gulf countries not involved in the dispute – traveled to Saudi Arabia on June 6 in an attempt to mediate. He later left after a “brotherly visit” but there was no word on the outcome of the talks.