Saudi Bloc Slams Qatar But Stops Short of Imposing New Sanctions

Al Jazeera which publishes a daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia has since published a fully apology and said Ramadan Al Enenzi was wrong in his choice of words
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07 July, 2017

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, after a meeting in Cairo, said in a statement that they "regret the negative response from Qatar". Qatar, a small peninsular country protruding into the Gulf, also hosts the biggest United States military base in the region as a bulwark against Iran.

Later, they issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar including downgrading ties with Iran, a regional rival of Saudi Arabia; stopping support for Islamist groups; and shutting down the Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcast network.

He also described Doha's response as a "position that reflects a failure to realise the gravity of the situation".

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani spoke at the London-based Chatham House global affairs think tank, saying the country has "the highest per capita GDP in the world, a world cup to look forward in 2022".

The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.

Following Qatar's defiance the four countries said they would be increasing sanctions on Qatar, which is already reeling from a land, air and sea blockade imposed on it since the crisis erupted approximately a month ago.

The UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, said after the meeting in Cairo on Wednesday that any new measures would adhere to worldwide law.

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After a two-day extension to an initial 10-day deadline, Doha had submitted its response to what it considered "legitimate" demands from its neighbours early on Wednesday via Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator.

Saudi's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir highlighted that they will "take the right steps at the right time" without going into details while stressing that "Qatar must change its policies for our stance to change".

A crisis in the Persian Gulf showed no sign of abating Wednesday, after four Arab states announced they will continue - and perhaps escalate - their isolation of neighboring Qatar, which they accuse of supporting terrorism.

The Henry Jackson Society - a neo-conservative think tank - also urges a public inquiry into the funding of terrorism by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, the BBC reports.

Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. Military action would be a disastrous last resort but another worrying possibility hinted at by UAE spokesmen is secondary sanctions: forcing countries to choose between doing business with the Saudi-led quartet or with Qatar.

Asked about the possibility of discontinuing Qatar's membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Sheikh Khalid said: "This is for the GCC to discuss".

According to the White House, the US President "reiterated the need for all countries to follow through on their commitments at the Riyadh summit to stop terrorist financing and discredit extremist ideology".


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