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Doha defiant as Saudi-led bloc warns of 'new measures'

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.

In a joint statement, the four states -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain -- voiced their collective “regret” over Qatar’s apparent refusal to meet their demands, including calls to close Doha-based pan-Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera.

The four states went on to call for an emergency meeting -- to convene in Bahraini capital Manama -- to discuss the ongoing inter-Arab political crisis.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir, for his part, declared that the “political and economic embargo” on Qatar -- first imposed one month ago -- was set to remain in place.

He also warned that a raft of “fresh measures” would be taken against Qatar at the “appropriate time”.

In a further escalation, Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Ahmed Mohammed Al Khalifa declared that any suspension of Qatar’s membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) would be decided “by the GCC alone”, suggesting that Doha’s expulsion from the six-member council could be imminent.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and Yemen all abruptly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of meddling in their domestic affairs and supporting terrorist groups.

Mauritania followed suit shortly afterwards, while Jordan downgraded its diplomatic representation in Doha.

Saudi Arabia also sealed its land border with Qatar, geographically isolating the tiny Gulf state.

Doha, for its part, strenuously denies that it supports terrorism, describing the moves to isolate it as “unjustified”.

The states arrayed against Qatar later presented Doha with a list of 13 demands, which they said must be met before the embargo is lifted.

They went on to give Doha a 10-day deadline -- which expired last night -- by which to respond to their set of demands.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdulrahman Al Thani said earlier that Qatar had responded to the list of demands “in keeping with the principle of national sovereignty and international law”.


-- Bernama

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