Blockade continues after Qatar rejects demands of Arab neighbors

Saudi King Salman has ordered an Al Jazeera writer to be suspended after he used terms that God used for Himself or to describe Prophet Abraham in a column

Qatar Airways said in a statement early on Thursday the ban had been lifted after the airline and its hub airport Hamad International met with all new USA security requirements.

The countries said in a joint statement earlier that they would respond "in a timely manner" to Qatar's reply.

Gulf sources in Washington have also said there have been talks with US Treasury and other officials about enhanced monitoring measures that Qatar can implement.

At the same time, they have said Qatar is interested in negotiating a fair and just solution to "any legitimate issues" of concern to fellow GCC member states.

Decision is likely to have resulted from Western diplomatic pressure.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt as well as the internationally recognized government of war-torn Yemen broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar in a major worldwide rift on June 5, 2017. Qatar has denied the charges.

Currently, Kuwait is mediating the conflict in the Persian Gulf.

Those demands include shutting down the Al Jazeera TV channel, curtailing Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, closing a Turkish military base in Qatar and downgrading ties with Iran.

The foreign ministers of four Arab countries, meeting in Cairo, said they regretted Qatar's "negative" response to their list of demands.




Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, speaking at Chatham House in London on Wednesday, said the list is "demanding that we must surrender our sovereignty as the price for ending the siege".

"The political and economic boycott will continue until Qatar changes its policies for the better", Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said.

Al-Jazeera's Arabic language chief Yaser Abuhilala has called on the broadcaster to enter into a discussion about its editorial policy amidst a deepening political crisis in the region between Qatar and rival Gulf states.

"They are constrained in what escalation measures they can take and they're facing an global community that prefers some kind of negotiated settlement, which they're not really interested in, " Griffiths said.

Any further steps taken against Qatar would be "taken at the appropriate time" and be "in line with worldwide law".

The UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, however, has predicted more isolation for Qatar.

A report by a British think tank on Wednesday claims that Saudi Arabia is the principle foreign promoter of Islamist extremism in the United Kingdom and alleges a "clear and growing link" between overseas funding and violent Jihadist groups in the country.

Doha's response to the 13-point list of demands "evinced complacency" and failed to recognize the gravity of the situation, the alliance said Wednesday as the deadline it gave Qatar to comply with its demands expired.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has underlined his country's support for Qatar once again and expressed discontent with the demand for the closure of a Turkish military base in Doha.

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