Gulf diplomatic crisis: Anti-Qatar bloc to step up pressure after Doha refuses to accept list of demands

Dubai: Four West Asian countries isolating Qatar vowed on Friday to take additional steps against the energy rich Gulf state after it refused to accept their demands over allegations that it supports extremist ideology.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain accused Qatar in a joint statement carried on Gulf state media of thwarting all efforts aimed at resolving the rift and said it intends to "continue its policy aimed at destabilizing security of the region."

File image of Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Wikimedia Commons

File image of Qatar King Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Wikimedia Commons

They vowed to "take all necessary political, economic and legal measures" against Qatar in a "timely manner". They did not specify what those steps could include, though officials have previously suggested they could intensify efforts to isolate Qatar economically.

The four countries cut diplomatic ties and severed air, land and sea links with World Cup 2022 host Qatar early June. They later issued a 10-day ultimatum to a 13-point list of demands that included cutting ties with terrorist groups, curbing relations with Iran and shutting media outlets, including the Al-Jazeera TV network.

Qatar issued its response to the ultimatum in a hand-written letter from 37-year-old Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani that was delivered earlier this week to Kuwait, which is mediating the crisis.

The contents of the letter have not been disclosed, but the anti-Qatar bloc described it as "negative" and failing to appreciate the gravity of the situation.

Qatar has strenuously denied that it supports extremist groups. It is refusing to shutter Al-Jazeera, one of its best-known brands, and sees the ultimatum as an affront to its sovereignty.

In a statement attributed to an unnamed senior foreign ministry official released later on Saturday, Qatar called allegations made by the quartet against it false and tantamount to "defamation in contradiction with the established foundations of international relations".

It said its position on terrorism "is consistent and known for its rejection and condemnation of all forms of terrorism whatever the causes and motives are". It went on to say that Qatar "is an active member committed to international conventions in combating terrorism and its financing at the regional and international levels".


Updated Date: Jul 08, 2017 09:14 AM

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