Arab nations extend deadline in Qatar crisis by 48 hours

Doha (File, Netwerk24)
Doha (File, Netwerk24)

Doha - Arab nations extended a deadline early on Monday for Qatar to respond to their list of demands in a diplomatic crisis roiling the Gulf, saying Kuwait's emir requested the delay as part of his efforts to mediate the dispute.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut off ties with 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar on June 5, restricting access to their airspace and ports and sealing Qatar's only land border, which it shares with Saudi Arabia.

They issued a 13-point list of demands to end the standoff June 22 and gave the natural gas-rich country 10 days to comply.

The joint statement early on Monday by the Arab nations said they expected Qatar to respond to their demands on Monday. The new deadline would expire late on Tuesday or early on Wednesday.

"The response of the four states will then be sent following the study of the Qatari government's response and assessment of its response to the whole demands," the statement said.

The four nations cut ties to Qatar over allegations it supports extremists and over worries it maintains too-close ties to Shi'ite power Iran. Qatar long has denied sponsoring militants and maintains ties to Iran as it shares a massive offshore natural gas field with the country.

'We stand ready to defend our country'

"Qatar is not an easy country to be swallowed by anyone. We are ready. We stand ready to defend our country. I hope that we don't come to a stage where, you know, a military intervention is made," Qatari Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah told Sky News.

Qatar's main QE stock index lost more than three percent when it reopened on Sunday following a week-long hiatus for the Eid al-Fitr holiday break — its first session since the demands were laid out. It eventually recovered some of its losses later in the trading session to close down 2.3% at 8 822.15.

Qatari supermarkets saw panic buying when the four countries initially cut ties. But the capital, Doha, was largely calm on Sunday as residents waited to see how the crisis would play out.

Abdelaziz al-Yafaei, a Qatari out for an evening walk along the city's bayside, said he was reassured that things would be fine, regardless of what happens over the course of the next days.

"We have a government, thank God, that is wise and knows how to provide for all of our needs, how to maintain security," he said. "We have enough funds in the country, on the economic side. All of the affairs are headed for the better."

Qatar's foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, showed no signs of backing down in during a press briefing in Rome on Saturday, saying they were never meant to be accepted and that his country "is prepared to face whatever consequences".

While in Rome, Al Thani met with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, who gave his backing to ongoing mediation efforts led by Kuwait. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also tried to resolve the dispute, with the US last week urging Saudi Arabia and its allies to stay "open to negotiation" with Qatar.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has separately spoken with the leaders of Qatar and Bahrain, urging direct dialogue among all the states involved, according to statements released by the Kremlin on Saturday.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Until the matric exams are over, my family is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Self-isolating to ensure we don't miss any exams
13% - 141 votes
Following Covid-19 safety protocols, but still going out like normal
54% - 610 votes
Business as usual, we're not worried about the virus
33% - 377 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
16.22
(+0.68)
ZAR/GBP
21.02
(+0.61)
ZAR/EUR
18.90
(+1.04)
ZAR/AUD
11.40
(+0.89)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.87)
Gold
1877.12
(+0.49)
Silver
23.60
(+1.43)
Platinum
846.00
(-0.29)
Brent Crude
38.07
(-3.48)
Palladium
2216.00
(+0.70)
All Share
51684.70
(-0.41)
Top 40
47472.92
(-0.22)
Financial 15
9459.76
(-3.04)
Industrial 25
73405.64
(+1.00)
Resource 10
47245.91
(-1.21)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo