Content of Qatar’s Response to Saudi Arabia Not Yet Disclosed
Qatar’s top diplomat delivered a response Monday to a list of demands made by Saudi Arabia and its allies involved in a prolonged diplomatic dispute with Qatar after extending a deadline to comply by 48 hours.
Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was received by Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah on Monday to deliver a handwritten letter from Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, according to state-run Kuwait News Agency.
The content of the letter has not been revealed, though Al Thani had earlier said that the demands were virtually certain to be rejected.
Kuwait, which has been trying to negotiate a peaceful end to the Gulf Arab states’ blockade of Qatar, asked for the deadline extension Sunday, shortly before time for Qatar’s reply to the Saudi-led coalition was due to expire.
A coordinated statement released early Monday by the state news agencies in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia confirmed the deadline had been extended until the end of Monday.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and commercial links with Qatar on June 5, accusing the government in Doha of supporting terrorism in an alliance with Iran.
Qatar has denied the accusations and said such charges are baseless. Al Thani has said the demands by the Saudis and their partners — including the withdrawal of Turkish troops in Qatar, closure of the Qatari-state-owned Al Jazeera news group, and a downgrading of Qatar’s relations with Iran — are impossible to meet without sacrificing Qatar’s sovereignty.
The content of the letter and the four boycotting countries’ next moves will be discussed Wednesday when their respective leaders are expected to meet in Cairo.
U.S. President Donald Trump discussed the situation by phone in separate calls Sunday with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
A White House statement said Trump addressed his concerns about the dispute, and stressed the importance of regional unity, stopping terrorist financing and discrediting extremist ideology.
The United States has supported Kuwait’s attempt to mediate the Gulf Arabs’ dispute. Washington has strong ties to both sides: The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is berthed in Bahrain and a land base in Qatar is the largest U.S. military facility in the region. In addition, hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of pending arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia potentially could be affected by the outcome of the diplomatic dispute.