Qatar to face more heat as deadline ends

Qatar to face more heat as deadline ends

It is being reported that the deadline, which expired on July 2 (Sunday), has been extended for 48 hours on the request of Kuwait mediating in the crisis.

The group demanded Doha close its state-funded media outlet Al-Jazeera and sever ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia's principal regional rival.

The countries have said they will impose further sanctions against Qatar if it does not comply with their list of 13 demands presented to Doha by Kuwait.

Kuwait reportedly requested that the four countries grant the Gulf state a two-day extension but did not mention anything related to where Qatar stands regarding the demands.

Egypt has recently joined the Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain in imposing a blockade on Qatar, accusing the latter of sheltering members of terrorist organisations and interfering in other countries' domestic affairs.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who on Monday starts a tour of several Arab states, has called for a "serious dialogue" to end the crisis.

Saudi Foreign Miniter Adel a-Jubeir said last week that the list of demands was "non-negotiable".

The foreign ministers of Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss "future steps" in dealing with Qatar.

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The four countries have agreed to extend the deadline, according to Al Arabiya TV network.

Meanwhile, Qatar's Defense Minister Khalid al Attiyah said on Sunday country is ready to defend itself if necessary.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani arrived in Kuwait Monday at a time when the Saudi Arabia-led Arab alliance tightens the screws on it amid a diplomatic crisis. Qatar has strongly denied the allegations.

Doha has rejected the demands and said it will not be meeting them, and it is unclear what will happen if the additional deadline passes on Tuesday.

Trump spoke individually with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani about the contentious relationship between the Middle East nations.

The AP says that the White House "urged unity and reiterated the importance of stopping terrorist financing and discrediting extremist ideology".

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also called for compromise and hosted senior Gulf officials, but his efforts have been undermined by remarks from President Donald Trump apparently supporting Riyadh's position.

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