Bush , Middle East Leaders Attend Annapolis Peace Conference

Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Saud Al-Faisal (L) and Qatar Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed bin Abdulla al-Mahmoud

The Saudis threatened to block fellow GCC member Qatar’s land and sea borders unless it cuts all Muslim Brotherhood ties, shuts down Al Jazeera and expels think tanks Brookings Doha Centre and the Rand Qatar Policy Institute. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Doha last week to protest Qatar’s Muslim Brotherhood support, a group the Saudis just labeled a terrorist organization. “Saudi foreign minister Saud bin Faisal reportedly said only those three requirements would be sufficient to prevent Qatar from “being punished.” [Arabian Business]

US and Indian officials meet today to discuss energy trade issues. India is expected to press the US on exporting LNG to non-free trade agreement countries. “US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia will lead the two sides at the talks, which were previously postponed due to row over treatment of Indian diplomat in US.” [Business Standard]

The Brent-WTI spread has narrowed to about $7 between per barrel prices for each benchmark grade. Many analysts and banks predicted the spread would narrow this year from a high of almost $20. “WTI for April delivery slid as much as 26 cents to $100.86 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange [yesterday], (…) Brent for April settlement dropped as much as 25 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $107.83 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.” [Bloomberg News]