Saudi bloc expresses “surprise” that Qatar has rejected its demands

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Buildings in Doha
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Thomson Reuters

LONDON – The Saudi-led group that imposed sanctions on Qatar has expressed surprise at the country’s rejection of its list of demands.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions after accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism and undermining the security of the Gulf region.

The bloc said in a statement that Qatar’s response “reflects” its links to terrorism, and expressed its “deep surprise” that the “legitimate list and logical demands” had not been accepted.

“The Qatari government has thwarted all efforts and diplomatic good offices to resolve the crisis,” the statement said, “reflecting its intention to continue its policy aimed at destabilising security of the region.”

The four countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on 5th June, including closing the country’s land, air and sea links. However, Turkey has sent food to Qatar, and Qatari officials are in talks with Turkey and Iran over securing further supplies. On 23rd June, the Saudi-led bloc issued Qatar with 13 demands, including shutting down media giant Al-Jazeera, as a prerequisite for lifting sanctions.

Qatar rejects the allegation that they are supporting terrorism. Doha’s foreign minster said last week that the list of demands was “made to be rejected,” according to Reuters.

The natural gas rich country has said it can withstand sanctions given its huge reserves and wealth funds. However, on Wednesday credit rating company Moody’s lowered the outlook on Qatar’s debt sustainability from “stable” to “negative,” citing concerns that the diplomatic crisis would continue into 2018.

Qatar’s stock exchange also plummeted after sanctions were imposed at the start of June, and has continued on a broadly downward trajectory.

Here is the chart as of 09:01 a.m. BST (04:01 EST):

Qatar Stock Exchange

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Qatar Stock Exchange
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Investing.com