Qatar responds to Saudi bloc demands as Donald Trump works phones
Dubai: Qatar delivered its official response to the 13 demands made by the Saudi-led coalition that cut diplomatic and transport links with the country, Al Arabiya news channel reported, as President Donald Trump and Kuwait’s ruler stepped up efforts to resolve the monthlong crisis.
Al Arabiya gave no details of the reply. The coalition, which also includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, had given Qatar a 10-day deadline to comply that ended on Monday, 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 the nation denies. The list of demands includes cutting back ties with Iran and shutting its Al Jazeera broadcaster. Qatari officials have said the requirements were unreasonable and vowed to withstand the isolation.
Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, said he hoped 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.
Qatari stocks, which declined 2.3% on Sunday ahead of the first deadline, gained 0.4% at 12:24 pm in Doha. The benchmark Qatar Exchange Index has dropped about 10% since the crisis broke out on 5 June.
“I wouldn’t be surprised at some shifting behind the scenes, but given the forceful demands that the Saudis and Emiaratis have made, I’m sceptical there is a ready solution” that can emerge in the next two days, said Graham Griffiths, an analyst at global risk consultancy Control Risks in Dubai. However, the parties may come up with an “interim solution that would at least allow them to ratchet down tensions a little bit and allow for more time,” he added.
Trump spoke with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar to discuss the crisis. While the 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 ever hit the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are all close US allies. Qatar hosts forward headquarters of CENTCOM, the US military’s central command in the region. The country also boasts one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds, with stakes in global companies from Glencore Plc to Barclays Plc.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE are set to meet on 5 July in Cairo to discuss the latest developments, the Egyptian foreign ministry said.Bloomberg
Mohammed Aly Sergie also contributed to this story.