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Qatar ruler to speak on row with Saudi Arabia and allies

DOHA: Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, is to address the nation Friday night in a televised speech, the first since Saudi Arabia and its allies severed ties with the emirate.

The official QNA news agency, quoting the emir’s office, said Sheikh Tamim would deliver his speech at around 1900 GMT to address “the future orientation of Qatar in light of the current Gulf crisis”.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their rival Iran. Doha denies the claim.

The crisis is the worst to hit the Gulf in decades.

Saudi Arabia and its allies also imposed sanctions on Doha, including closing its only land border, refusing Qatar access to their airspace and ordering their citizens back from Qatar.

And on June 22, they went on to present the emirate with a list of 13 demands with which to comply to resolve the crisis.

Kuwait has been trying to mediate the crisis and several top Western diplomats have toured the region to try to defuse the row, including US Secretary of States Rex Tillerson.

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