Qatar Responds to Saudi Bloc Demands as Trump Works PhonesBy
Minister Al Thani lands in Kuwait to deliver Qatari reply
Saudi-led alliance officials to meet July 5 to discuss crisis
Qatar delivered its official response to the 13 demands made by the Saudi-led coalition that cut diplomatic and transport links with the country, as President Donald Trump and Kuwait’s ruler stepped up efforts to resolve the monthlong crisis.
Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani hand-delivered the reply to Kuwait’s emir in his Al Bayan Palace on Monday, Kuwait’s official news agency reported, without providing details of what it contained. The coalition, which also includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, had given Qatar a 10-day deadline to comply that ended on Monday, before agreeing to a 48-hour extension at the request of the Kuwaiti ruler.
The four countries accuse Qatar of supporting extremist groups, a charge it denies. The list of demands includes cutting back ties with Iran, severing links with the Muslim Brotherhood group and shutting its Al Jazeera broadcaster. Qatari officials have said the requirements were unreasonable and vowed to withstand the isolation.
Anwar Gargash, the U.A.E.’s minister of state for foreign affairs, said he hoped Kuwait’s efforts would yield results and allow Qatar to “review” its position. “Wisdom is needed, and the alternative is difficult for all of us,” he said on Twitter.
Qatari stocks, which declined 2.3 percent on Sunday ahead of the first deadline, gained 1.3 percent at the close in Doha.
“I wouldn’t be surprised at some shifting behind the scenes, but given the forceful demands that the Saudis and Emiratis have made, I’m skeptical there is a ready solution” that can emerge in the next two days, said Graham Griffiths, an analyst at global risk consultancy Control Risks in Dubai. However, the parties may come up with an “interim solution that would at least allow them to ratchet down tensions a little bit and allow for more time,” he added.
In Egypt, security forces on Sunday arrested the daughter and son-in-law of Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef El-Qaradawi, who lives in exile in Qatar and featured in a list of individuals and organizations the Saudi-led alliance says are involved in terrorism. The detentions were reported by the Cairo-based newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm and in a Facebook post by El-Qaradawi’s son, Abdel-Rahman.
The couple are being investigated as being members of a “terrorist organization,” the daily reported. The Brotherhood, a 90-year-old Islamist movement, is designated as a terrorist group by Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Egypt but not by any Western nations. El-Qaradawi is widely regarded as its spiritual leader.
Trump spoke with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. and Qatar to discuss the crisis. While the president has publicly sided with the kingdom, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that Qatar would find it “very difficult” to comply with some of the coalition’s requests.
The countries involved in the worst crisis to ever hit the Gulf Cooperation Council are all close U.S. allies. Qatar hosts forward headquarters of CENTCOM, the U.S. military’s central command in the region. The country also boasts one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds, with stakes in global companies from Glencore Plc to Barclays Plc.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and U.A.E. are set to meet on July 5 in Cairo to discuss the latest developments, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.
— With assistance by Mohammed Sergie