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Qatar replies to ‘bully’ Saudi’s 13-point demand

Qatar on Monday responded to a 13 point demand from bully neighbours led by Saudi Arabia after they agreed to extend the deadline by 48 hours.

Details of the response were not immediately available, but a Gulf official told AFP that Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani had delivered it during a short visit to Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator in the crisis.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt had announced in the early hours of Monday they were pushing back a deadline for Qatar to agree to a list of 13 demands they issued on June 22.

A joint statement said they were extending the ultimatum, which had been due to expire at the end of the day on Sunday, at the request of Kuwait’s emir.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani: delivered the response to Kuwait

The demands included Doha ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood, closing broadcaster Al-Jazeera, downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and shutting down a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Sheikh Mohammed had earlier said the list of demands was “made to be rejected” and on Monday British lawyers for Qatar denounced the demands as “an affront to international law”.

“They are reminiscent of the extreme and punitive conduct of ‘bully’ states that have historically resulted in war,” said the lawyers.

In the evening, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir expressed hopes for a “positive response to be able to resolve the crisis”.

Qatar’s reply would be “examined with precision”, Jubeir told a news conference with German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia and its allies announced on June 5 they were severing ties with their Gulf neighbour, sparking the worst diplomatic crisis to hit the region in decades.

They accused Qatar of supporting extremism and of being too close to Saudi Arabia’s regional arch-rival Iran, which Doha has strongly denied.

The crisis has raised concerns of growing instability in the region, home to some of the world’s largest energy exporters and several key Western allies who host US military bases.

Gabriel, who will also visit the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait, on called for “serious dialogue” to end the crisis.

“We are worried that the distrust and the disunity could weaken all the parties concerned as well as the entire peninsula,” said the German minister.

Riyadh and its supporters have already severed air, sea and ground links with Qatar, cutting off vital routes for imports including food.

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