(MENAFN- The Peninsula) By Maggie Hyde | Associated Press
DOHA, Qatar: Arab nations extended a deadline early Monday for Qatar to respond to their list of demands in a diplomatic crisis roiling the Gulf, saying Kuwait's emir requested the delay as part of his efforts to mediate the dispute.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut off ties with 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar on June 5, restricting access to their airspace and ports and sealing Qatar's only land border, which it shares with Saudi Arabia.
They issued a 13-point list of demands to end the standoff June 22 and gave Qatar 10 days to comply.
The joint statement early Monday by the Arab nations said they expected Qatar to respond to their demands on Monday. The new deadline would expire late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
"The response of the four states will then be sent following the study of the Qatari government's response and assessment of its response to the whole demands," the statement said.
The four nations cut ties to Qatar over allegations it supports extremists and over worries it maintains too-close ties to Iran. Qatar long has denied sponsoring militants and maintains ties to Iran as it shares a massive offshore natural gas field with the country.
Abdelaziz al-Yafaei, a Qatari out for an evening walk along the city's bayside, said he was reassured that things would be fine, regardless of what happens over the course of the next days.
"We have a government, thank God, that is wise and knows how to provide for all of our needs, how to maintain security," he said. "We have enough funds in the country, on the economic side. All of the affairs are headed for the better."
Qatar's foreign minister, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, during a press briefing in Rome on Saturday, said they were never meant to be accepted and that his country "is prepared to face whatever consequences."
While in Rome, Al Thani met with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, who gave his backing to ongoing mediation efforts led by Kuwait. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also tried to resolve the dispute, with the U.S. last week urging Saudi Arabia and its allies to stay "open to negotiation" with Qatar.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has separately spoken with the leaders of Qatar and Bahrain, urging direct dialogue among all the states involved, according to statements released by the Kremlin on Saturday.
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