Saturday, 18 November, 2017

What's next in the Gulf crisis

Al Jazeera Al Jazeera staff work at their TV station in Doha Qatar
Mae Harvey | 07 July, 2017, 00:28

The press conference came after Qatar delivered its response to a list of 13 demands from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE.

State-run Qatar Petroleum has said it plans to increase natural gas production by 30 percent over the next several years.

Qatar faces further isolation and possible expulsion from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) if its response to a list of demands made almost two weeks ago is not deemed satisfactory.

Speaking after a meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo on 6 July, Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said Doha's response was "negative and lacked any content".

Qatar Airways said on Thursday that passengers travelling to the U.S. can now carry their laptops and other large electronics on board, ending a three-month in-cabin ban on devices for the Doha-based airline.

"We're not doing this because we want to hurt Qatar, we're doing this to help Qatar", Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir said as reported by the BBC.

The four foreign ministers, from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, had assembled in Cairo to coordinate the next steps in their confrontation with Qatar.

"We hope wisdom will prevail and Qatar will eventually make the right decisions", added Shukri, who said the four nations were acting against Qatar within the boundaries of worldwide law, as well as the interest to safeguard regional and global security.

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The foreign ministers said they would meet again soon in the Bahraini capital, Manama, but gave no date.

Thousands of Qataris are cut off from relatives as well as properties they own in the UAE and Bahrain after the four Arab states announced the boycott and severed land, sea and air links.

Moody's has said it expects "the stalemate may continue for some time", and added: "Depending on the duration and potential further escalation of tensions, the dispute could negatively affect Qatar's economic and fiscal strength".

Also on Wednesday, the White House announced that a telephone conversation was held between US President Donald Trump and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fatah el-Sisi.

"While entities from across the Gulf and Iran have been guilty of advancing extremism, those in Saudi Arabia are undoubtedly at the top of the list", Tom Wilson, a fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, said in a statement. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with the Emir of Kuwait and stressed Washington's "support" for his efforts to mediate a solution to the crisis, Kuna said. "The matter is not related only to the sovereignty of Qatar", Gabriel said.

Qatar had earlier responded to the deadline with defiance, calling the demands "unrealistic and is not actionable".

The dispute also has ramifications for the United States, which has a large military base in Qatar.

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