Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states which spearheaded a diplomatic campaign against Qatar have extended the deadline for Doha to accept their demands. The deadline expired on Sunday, 2 July and Qatar has now been given 48 more hours to meet the demands.
Extension of the deadline was first requested by Kuwait, which is now mediating one of the worst diplomatic crises the region has faced in many years. Shiekh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, lobbied for relaxing the cut-off date after he received an assurance from Qatar that it would respond to the demands by Monday.
Led by Riyadh, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt snapped diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed sanctions in early June alleging that Doha was supporting "terrorism". Qatar has strongly denied the allegations. More than two weeks after the onset of the crisis, the countries issued a list of 13 demands that Qatar, a tiny energy-rich emirate, was required to meet within 10 days.
Qatar's state-run news agency said the emirate's officials will personally hand over the response to Kuwait later in the day. It is still unclear whether Qatar will comply with the demands which include the shutting down of pan-Arab news network Al Jazeera. Ahead of an official response, Qatar's Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani , said his country would not meet the demands.
"There is no fear from our direction. We are ready to face the consequences," Al Thani said on Saturday in Rome, where he met the Italian foreign minister
The extension of the deadline comes shortly after three Gulf leaders had separate conversations with US President Donald Trump on handling the situation. The White House said in a statement that Trump "spoke separately today with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, and Emir Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar".
The statement added that Trump "addressed his concerns about the ongoing dispute between Qatar and some of its Gulf and Arab neighbours. He reiterated the importance of stopping terrorist financing and discrediting extremist ideology".
The Saudi-led coalition had earlier threatened to impose more sanctions on Qatar if Doha did not meet the demands. The foreign ministers of Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are also set to meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the Qatar crisis.