Saudi receives Qatar response to demands

Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir speaks to the press on current events and challenges in the Middle East in Paris on June 6, 2017. Photo: Jacques Demarthon / AFP

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies said early on Wednesday they had received Qatar's response to their list of demands for restoring relations, which Doha has described as "unrealistic".

"Minister Adel al-Jubeir received from the Kuwaiti state minister, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah, the official Qatari response regarding the demands of the boycotting countries," the Saudi foreign ministry said on Twitter, adding that they met in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt announced on 5 June they were severing ties with Qatar and later put forward a list of 13 demands.

They accuse Qatar of supporting extremism and of being too close to Saudi Arabia's regional arch-rival Iran, which Doha has strongly denied.

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The demands included that Doha end support for the Muslim Brotherhood, close broadcaster Al-Jazeera, downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran and shut down a Turkish military base in the emirate.

They gave Qatar a further 48 hours to meet their demands after an initial 10-day deadline expired on Sunday, following a request from Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator in the crisis.

"The four countries received the Qatari response through the state of Kuwait before the end of the extended period. And it will be responded to at the right time," the Saudi foreign ministry tweeted.

Foreign ministers from the four countries are due to meet in Cairo from 1100 GMT on Wednesday to discuss their next move.

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Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who handed the official response to Kuwait, said the list of demands "is unrealistic and is not actionable".

"It's not about terrorism, it's talking about shutting down the freedom of speech," he said.

Riyadh and its supporters have severed air, sea and ground links with Qatar, cutting off vital routes for imports including food.

They also ordered Qatari citizens to leave their territories and took various steps against Qatari firms and financial institutions.


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