- By Zakiya Afzani
Qatar Crisis |Blockade deepens
Restrictions on Qatar will continue after the nation rejected the ultimatum made by the international community, Saudi Arabia told Al-Sahawat Times in Cairo, Egypt.
The foreign ministers of four Arab countries, meeting in Cairo, said they regretted Qatar’s “negative” response to their list of demands.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE along with several other nations severed ties with Qatar last month.
They accuse it of supporting militant groups, and called for major changes in Qatar’s foreign policies.
The diplomats said Qatar lacked “understanding of the seriousness and gravity of the situation”.
The Saudi foreign minister said further steps would be taken against Qatar at the appropriate time, and would be in line with international law.
“We’re not doing this because we want to hurt Qatar, we’re doing this to help Qatar,” Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir told Al-Sahawat Times.
The meeting came as the deadline for Qatar to accept the list of demands or face further sanctions expired.
The bloc’s demands to Qatar include shutting down the Al Jazeera channel and website and scaling down ties with Iran, as well as handing over individuals wanted for terrorism and aligning itself politically and economically Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).
Speaking in London before the four ministers’ statement, the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani described the cutting of ties with his country as “a siege that is a clear aggression and an insult”.
“The answer to our disagreement is not blockades and ultimatums, it is dialogue and reason,” he added.
The small oil- and gas-rich nation is dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of its population of 2.7 million.
As its only land border is now closed, food is having to be shipped or flown in.
Sheikh. Thani said this could be sustained “indefinitely”.
How did we get here?
- 5 June: A number of Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region. Measures include closing airspace to Qatar Airways
- 8 June: Qatar vows it will “not surrender” the independence of its foreign policy amid US calls for Gulf unity
- 23 June: Qatar is given 10 days to comply with a 13-point list of demands, including shutting down the Al Jazeera news network, closing a Turkish military base, cutting ties with militant groups, and curbing diplomatic relations with Iran
- 1 July: Qatar’s foreign minister says the state has rejected the demands, but is ready to engage in dialogue under the right conditions
- 3 July: Saudi Arabia and its allies extend by 48 hours the deadline for Qatar to accept their list of demands.
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