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Arab States Grant Qatar 48-Hour Extension To Meet Demands As Deadline Passes


A man looks at his phone on the corniche in the Qatari capital Doha on July 2

Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have agreed to grant Qatar a 48-hour extension to meet demands after Doha submitted a response to a 13-point ultimatum, Saudi state-owned TV says.

Al-Arabiya TV channel early on July 3 said the agreement to extend the deadline came in response to a request by the Kuwaiti emir, who is acting as a mediator in a dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and others.

The Saudis and their allies have cut all diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and of being too close to regional foe Iran. The Qataris have denied the allegations.

The countries set a list of 13 demands and imposed a midnight July 2 deadline for Qatar to respond, threatening further sanctions if it did not act.

Among the demands were calls to end financial support for terrorism, shutter the Al-Jazeera network, cut most ties with Iran, and close Turkey's air base as the price of ending a regional boycott of the small Persian Gulf state.

The Kuwaiti emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, early on July 3 said he had received the Qataris’ formal response and immediately asked the Arab nations grant Qatar a 48-hour extension.

The Kuwaiti emir did not indicate the nature of Qatar's response. But during a July 1 visit to Rome, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani again rejected the demands as an infringement on Qatar's sovereignty.

The Qatari added, though, said Doha was ready to discuss the issues raised by its Arab neighbors.

Among the potential further steps the countries could take against Qatar would be to suspend it from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is closely allied to the United States.

It consists of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman.

Meanwhile, Egypt on July 2 said its foreign minister and his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and Bahrain will meet in Cairo on July 5 “to follow up on the developing situation regarding relations with Qatar."

The U.S. State Department has endorsed Kuwait's role in helping to settle the dispute and called for all sides to exercise restraint.

Late on July 2, the White House said President Donald Trump had spoken separately to the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi and expressed "his concerns about the ongoing dispute."

It added that Trump reiterated the importance of stopping terrorist financing and the discrediting of extremist ideology.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AP

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