Saudi-led bloc deny progress made in Qatar dispute

Saudi-led bloc deny progress made in Qatar dispute

Saudi-led bloc deny progress made in Qatar dispute A Saudi-led bloc of countries hostile to Qatar on Sept. 8 challenged statements by the Kuwaiti emir, denying his mediation has seen progress in finding a solution to the Gulf dispute.

Saudi Arabia as well as the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of bankrolling Islamist extremist groups.

Qatar, a gas-rich Gulf emirate, denies the claims and accuses the four countries of an attack on its sovereignty.

In Washington on Sept. 7, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah gave an upbeat assessment of his mediation efforts during a joint news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“What is important is that we have stopped any military action,” Sheikh Sabah said, adding that he had received a letter from Qatar that expressed willingness to discuss a list of 13 demands from its neighbors.

In a statement early Sept. 8, the Saudi-led bloc questioned the emir's statements.

"Dialogue on the implementation of the demands should not be preceded by any conditions," they said in the joint statement, while voicing "regret" about the Kuwaiti ruler's statement "on the success of mediation in stopping military intervention.”

Instead, the four Arab states stressed in their joint statement that "the military option has not been and will not be considered in any case."    

During the news conference on Sept. 7, Trump offered to mediate in the crisis, saying he believed the dispute could be solved "fairly easily.”