- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 5, 2017

CAIRO (AP) - The Latest on Arab nations’ diplomatic dispute with energy-rich Qatar (all times local):

8 p.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has sent U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman to the Persian Gulf to discuss how the United Nations might work with regional partners to resolve the crisis between Qatar and four Arab nations.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that Feltman has already been to the United Arab Emirates - one of the four Arab nations - and was in Kuwait, which is trying to mediate the conflict, on Wednesday.

Dujarric says Feltman will be traveling to Qatar’s capital, Doha.

The spokesman added that Feltman hopes to meet “as many of the people involved” as possible.

The four Arab nations seeking to isolate Qatar for its alleged support for terrorism issued a statement Wednesday saying that Doha’s response to their demands to end the crisis was “not serious.”


6:15 p.m.

A senior Turkish official says only Ankara and Doha will decide on the fate of the Turkish military base in the tiny Gulf country involved in a major dispute with four other Arab nations.

Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak told The Associated Press that the Arab states’ pressure for Qatar to shutter the Turkish base amounts to a violation of Qatar’s sovereign rights and urged the Arab countries to overcome their differences “in a brotherly” manner.

Kaynak says “those who will make the decision (about the base) are the two countries that made the agreement, the pact: Qatar and the Republic of Turkey.”

He reiterated Ankara’s position that the Turkish base is for the benefit of the region’s security and that it “is not an occupation, an annexation force.”

Kaynak spoke after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain dismissed Qatar’s response to their demands for ending the crisis ad “not serious.”


6 p.m.

Four Arab nations seeking to isolate Qatar for its alleged support for terrorism have issued a statement saying that Doha’s response to their demands to end the crisis was “not serious.”

Wednesday’s statement came after foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain - the Arab states involved in the dispute with Qatar - met in Egypt’s capital after receiving Doha’s response to their list of demands.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri told reporters at a joint news conference in Cairo that Qatar’s response was “generally negative” and failed to “lay the foundation for Qatar’s reversal of the policies it pursues.”

He also described Doha’s response as a “position that reflects a failure to realize the gravity of the situation.”


5:40 p.m.

Turkey’s president is underlining his country’s support for Qatar and its anger at a demand by Gulf Arab nations that are involved in a dispute with Doha for the closure of a Turkish military base there.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying in an interview with German weekly Die Zeit published on Wednesday that “what is being done with Qatar runs counter to international law.”

He said the demand for the Turkish base to be closed shows “a lack of respect toward us and Qatar” and added that “the Americans are also there, with 9,000 soldiers, and so are the French.”

He asks: “Why are the Saudis disturbed by us and not by that? This is unacceptable.”

Erdogan also criticized a demand for the closure of broadcaster Al-Jazeera, saying Ankara “will support Qatar in every way, because we share the same values, have good relations and we cannot be silent about the injustice.”

The interview was conducted Monday.


5:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump has spoken with his Egyptian counterpart about the ongoing dispute between Qatar and four Arab countries.

The president called Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi from Air Force One on Wednesday, while en route to Poland. He called on “all parties to negotiate constructively to resolve the dispute” with Qatar and to “stop terrorist financing and discredit extremist ideology.”

Foreign ministers from four Arab nations seeking to isolate Qatar over its alleged support for extremist groups met in Cairo on Wednesday to address the diplomatic crisis roiling the Persian Gulf.

Trump also raised the issue of North Korea in his call to el-Sissi, following Pyonyang’s ballistic missile test this week. He stressed the need to stop hosting North Korean guest workers, and economic or military benefits to North Korea.


1:20 p.m.

Foreign ministers from four Arab nations that have sought to isolate Qatar over its alleged support for extremist groups have started talks in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Their Wednesday meeting came hours after the quartet - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain - said they had received Qatar’s response to their demands for ending the crisis.

The four cut ties to Qatar early last month, accusing it of supporting hard-line militant groups in the region. Qatar denies supporting extremists and has defended its warm relations with Iran, with which it shares a massive undersea gas field.

The nations issued a 13-point list of demands last month, giving Qatar 10 days to comply. They later extended the deadline by another 48 hours at the request of Kuwait, which has acted as a mediator.

That deadline expired early Wednesday.


5:25 a.m.

The ratings agency Moody’s says it is changed its outlook on Qatar’s economy to negative, largely due to the ongoing diplomatic dispute now engulfing the tiny, energy-rich nation.

Moody’s said in a statement early Wednesday that “the likelihood of a prolonged period of uncertainty extending into 2018 has increased and a quick resolution of the dispute is unlikely over the next few months.”

Moody’s says that “carries the risk that Qatar’s sovereign credit fundamentals could be negatively affected.”

So far, Moody’s says Qatar’s exports of natural gas have yet to be affected. Those exports make the small country’s citizens have the biggest per capita incomes in the world.


5:15 a.m.

A quartet of Arab nations says they have received Qatar’s response to their demands for ending a diplomatic crisis gripping the Gulf.

A joint statement issued early Wednesday morning said Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would respond “in a timely manner.” It did not elaborate.

Foreign ministers from the four countries are due to meet later Wednesday in Cairo.

The four countries early last month cut diplomatic ties to Qatar in large part over their allegations that it supports extremist groups. Qatar denies backing extremists.

They later issued a 13-point list of demands to Qatar to end the standoff. Qatar submitted a written response to mediator Kuwait on Monday.

Energy-rich Qatar hosts some 10,000 American troops at its sprawling al-Udeid Air Base.

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