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Qatar Escalates on Eve of Deadline | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Demonstrators seen outside the Qatari embassy in Washington. Edwin Mora/Breitbart News

Washington, Ankara- Qatar escalated its moves on Thursday as an ultimatum issued by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain is expected to expire on July 3.

The four Arab states imposed sanctions on Doha, which has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or face unspecified consequences.

However, Qatar on Thursday decided to escalate by insisting to transfer its crisis with the four states to the meeting of the World Trade Organization on Friday, Reuters reported.

“Qatar said it wanted to discuss trade restrictive measures by certain members,” in a sign to the dispute with the four states, who have accused Doha of supporting terrorism.

Meanwhile, the director of Qatar’s World Trade Organization office, Ali Alwaleed al-Thani told Reuters that Qatar was considering a complaint at the WTO against a “blockade” by the Arab states.

“We are exploring all possible legal avenues, including, but not limited to, the (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body,” Ali Alwaleed said.

Other sources said that Doha wants to hire a Swiss law firm to request compensations for citizens affected by the Gulf decision to cut ties with Qatar.

After Qatar’s Al Jazeera channel announced the arrival of additional Turkish troops to Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar’s defense minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Atiyyah will make an official visit to Turkey on Friday for talks on the latest developments related to the Gulf crisis.

Diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat the Qatari minister would also tackle specific aspects of the Turkish military base in Qatar.

In Washington, Qatar’s Foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Thursday that his country was working with the United States and Kuwait to respond to a list of demands presented by the four Arab states.

“We have to set the conditions first in order to pursue these negotiations,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

On Wednesday, demonstrators gathered outside the embassy of Qatar in Washington and asked US President Donald Trump to take clear positions in exerting pressures on Qatar, who is accused of supporting terrorism.