Qatar has been given another 48 hours to respond to a list of demands, including the closure of Al Jazeera TV, by four Arab states.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have raised the possibility of further sanctions against Qatar if it does not comply with 13 demands.
The four countries agreed to a request by Kuwait, acting as a mediator state, to extend Sunday’s deadline by 48 hours.
The four states cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar on June 5th, accusing it of supporting terrorism, meddling in their internal affairs and advancing the agenda of regional foe Iran, all of which Qatar denies.
Qatar’s Gulf critics accuse Al Jazeera of being a platform for extremists and an agent of interference in their affairs.
They have not specified what further sanctions they could impose on Doha, but commercial bankers in the region believe that Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini banks might receive official guidance to pull deposits and interbank loans from Qatar.
Qatar says it is interested in negotiating a fair and just solution to ‘any legitimate issues’ but says the demands are so strict that the four countries never seriously intended them as a negotiating position.
A US State Department official said the United States encourages “all parties to exercise restraint to allow for productive diplomatic discussions.”
Gulf countries have insisted the demands are non-negotiable.
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