Blockade continues after Qatar rejects demands of Arab neighbors

Germany's foreign minister said he no longer sees the risk of military escalation in the Gulf standoff, despite an angry reaction from four Arab nations to Qatar's response to the crisis.

The four countries accuse Doha of harbouring Islamist groups that they consider terrorist organisations - including the Muslim Brotherhood - and giving them a platform on the Al Jazeera satellite channel, which is funded by the Qatari state.

Qatar's exports of natural gas, which allows its people to have the highest per capita incomes in the world, have yet to be affected, Moody's says.

Al Mu'allemi stressed that Qatar's continued support for terrorism has made Doha a haven for terrorists. "We find it did not provide a basis for Qatar to retreat from its policies", Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said.

"You have to ask what the next step is" for Qatar's leader, said Kattouf, former USA ambassador to Syria and the United Arab Emirates .

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani, at London's Chatham House think-tank, said that Doha was continuing to call for dialogue to settle the row. Military action would be a disastrous last resort but another worrying possibility hinted at by UAE spokesmen is secondary sanctions: forcing countries to choose between doing business with the Saudi-led quartet or with Qatar.

From Cairo they called upon the worldwide community to join them in taking measures against Qatar.

Also on Monday, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that he hopes Qatar will respond positively to a list of demands put forth by his country and three other Arab states.


A handful of Arab states that imposed an embargo on Qatar last month vowed to take "fresh measures" against Doha on Wednesday after the latter appeared to reject their 13-point list of demands, Turkey's Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt isolated Qatar diplomatically and economically after claiming it supports terrorist groups and implements policies that could jeopardise the equilibrium of the region.

Qatar is accused of destabilising the region by supporting extremism and terrorism - which it denies.

The country had until Wednesday to reply to a list of 13 stipulations after the four-country bloc had agreed to extend the initial deadline by 48 hours.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke with US President Donald Trump by telephone about Qatar, Sisi's office said on Wednesday.

The think tank has called for a public inquiry into the role of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.

While the United States government supports numerous policies motivating the Arab blockade, it faces a practical challenge, as Qatar hosts the America's largest military base in the Middle East.


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