After demands aired, solution to Qatar crisis seems far off

The demand that Turkey pull out its forces was one of a steep list of ultimatums from Saudi Arabia and other Qatari neighbors that includes shuttering broadcaster Al-Jazeera, curbing diplomatic relations with Iran and severing all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Faced with a sweeping set of demands, Qatar insisted Friday it can indefinitely survive the economic and diplomatic steps its neighbors have taken to try to pressure it into compliance, even as a top Emirati official warned the tiny country to brace for a long-term economic squeeze.

Given 10 days to make a decision, Qatar said it was reviewing the specific concessions demanded of the tiny Persian Gulf nation, which include shuttering Al-Jazeera and cutting ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. But Qatari officials didn’t budge from their previous insistence that they won’t sit down with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations to negotiate an end to the crisis while under siege.

“I can assure you that our situation today is very comfortable,” Qatari Ambassador to the U.S. Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani told The Associated Press. “Qatar could continue forever like that with no problems.”

Asked whether Qatar felt pressure to resolve the crisis quickly, he said: “Not at all.”

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As the United States stepped back from any central mediating role, all sides seemed to be settling in for a potentially protracted crisis. Qatar’s neighbors insisted their 13-point list of demands was their bottom line, not a starting point for negotiations.

If Qatar refuses to comply by the deadline, the Arab countries signaled, they’ll continue to restrict its access to land, sea and air routes indefinitely, as economic pressure mounts on Qatar.

“The measures that have been taken are there to stay until there is a long-term solution to the issue,” Emirati Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba said in an…

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