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Saudi led-bloc extends Qatar demands deadline by 48 hours

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of Emir of Kuwait Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, who has been meditating the dispute between Qatar and a Saudi-led group of countries

Saudi Arabia says it has decided along with its allies to extend a deadline for Qatar to accept a list of its demands by 48 hours.

According to the Saudi Arabia’s official news agency SPA early on Monday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed to grant Doha an extension via a request by  Emir of Kuwait Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, who has been meditating the dispute.

Al-Sabah made the request after Qatar said it would be presenting him with their response on Monday.

The announcement was made after the former deadline expired on Sunday midnight.  

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Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties and cut all land, sea, and air contacts with Qatar on June 5. The four countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region, allegations denied by Doha.

The countries later issued a list of demands for Qatar to meet in return for the normalization of ties. Among them was that Qatar should shut down Al Jazeera, a media network that has reportedly been critical especially of Saudi Arabia, close a Turkish military base, limit its ties with Iran, and “compensate” the sanctioning countries.

Until now Qatar has stated that it will not be giving in to the demands, with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani stressing the requests were “meant to be rejected."

Qatar: Neighbors plotting to topple emir

Meanwhile, in an interview with Sky News, Qatar’s Defense Minister Khalid al-Attiyah said that his country’s neighbors were planning to change the government in the Persian Gulf state.

Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah (file photo)

“In 1996 there was a hard coup attempt. In 2014 there was a soft coup attempt. In 2017 there's been a soft coup attempt," he said.

He added that Qatar is always ready to defend itself. "I hope we don't come to a stage where a military intervention is made but we always stand ready," he added.

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