Will Qatar be suspended from the GCC if it rejects Arab demands?

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Gulf states may be preparing to increase economic sanctions against Qatar, as well as widening its diplomatic isolation and suspending it from the GCC, the Guardian reported on Tuesday citing senior Gulf diplomats.

The diplomats were speaking before ministers from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and meet in Cairo from 1100 GMT Wednesday to discuss their next move.

The four states announced on June 5 they were severing ties with Qatar and later put forward a list of 13 demands. They accuse Qatar of supporting extremism and of being too close to Iran, which Doha has denied.

Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies said early Wednesday they had received Qatar's response to a list of demands for restoring relations, which Doha has described as "unrealistic".

Speaking to the Guardian, the diplomats predicted if no agreement was reached, Kuwait and Jordan, “would swing behind Saudi Arabia against Qatar.”

Kuwait has been acting as the chief mediator in the dispute.

“They added that a stronger economic embargo could be implemented, including disinvestment from Qatar, withdrawal of deposits and possibly a tighter air blockade. Last minute negotiations were continuing involving Kuwaiti emissaries in Jeddah,” the report added.

The Guardian quoted a blockading state as saying that Qatar’s response has to be fully positive: “If it is half way, or there are grey areas on which we can adhere we can assess the position, but this is about ending support for terrorism.”

The 13 demands included Doha ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood, closing broadcaster Al Jazeera, downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and shutting down a Turkish military base.

The four states had given Qatar a further 48 hours to meet their demands after an initial 10-day deadline expired Sunday, following a request from Kuwait.

"The four countries received the Qatari response through the state of Kuwait before the end of the extended period. And it will be responded to at the right time," the Saudi foreign ministry tweeted.

(With AFP)