Qatar Risks Expulsion From GCC if Rejects Neighbors' Demands

Published July 3rd, 2017 - 05:00 GMT
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at a GCC summit. A report on Sunday suggested Saudi Arabia and its allies were mulling suspending Qatar from the six-nation council. (file photo)
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at a GCC summit. A report on Sunday suggested Saudi Arabia and its allies were mulling suspending Qatar from the six-nation council. (file photo)

Qatar faces new sanctions from Arab countries that have cut ties with the Gulf emirate, as a deadline for Doha to comply with a list of demands loomed Sunday, Saudi-owned television Al Arabiya reported.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt are “studying” a list of potential sanctions against Qatar after it rejected those demands, Al Arabiya said.

One possible punishment is suspending Qatar from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a US-allied bloc, the Dubai-based broadcaster said.

The GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.

Potential trade penalties on Qatar can extend to include countries and companies dealing with the energy-rich emirate, Al Arabiya added without elaborating.

The broadcaster said the deadline ends Sunday evening without giving an exact hour.

There was no official confirmation from any of the countries involved in the crisis.

Last week, Qatar disclosed a list of 13 demands issued by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. The demands were conveyed by Kuwait that is acting as a mediator to defuse the ongoing dispute.

The demands include downgrading ties with Iran, a regional rival of Saudi Arabia; stopping support for Islamist groups; and shutting down the Doha-based broadcaster Al Jazeera and its channels.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has said the demands violate his country's sovereignty, but called for a dialogue.

"Arab states demands made to be rejected," Mohammed tweeted Sunday on the Qatari Foreign Ministry’s official account.

In the lead-up to the deadline, Saudi Arabia renewed its call for Qatar, a country of around 2.5 million people, to shift course.

“Qatar has to reconsider its positions supporting terrorism and walk on the right path in order to protect global security,” Saudi Information Minister Awwad Al Awwad said.

"This includes stopping the flow of money to groups and individuals on terror lists," he added, according to the pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat.

Last month, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties and transportation links with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, a charge that Doha denies.

Later, the four countries placed on terrorism lists 59 figures and 12 groups with alleged links to Qatar.

Doha has called the boycott a "siege" and "collective punishment."

In 2014, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain temporarily withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, accusing it of breaching a regional security pact.

That dispute was resolved through Kuwait’s mediation.


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