Four Arab nations seeking to isolate Qatar over its alleged support for extremist groups vowed on Wednesday to maintain their boycott of the country. The Saudi Arabia-led bloc said they were disappointed with the “negative” response to their list of demands to end the diplomatic crisis, Reuters reported.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, after a meeting in Cairo, said in a statement that they “regret the negative response from Qatar”.
The country’s response to the demands has not been made public.
Earlier, Qatar had accused the four Arab nations of “clear aggression” and said the allegations against the country “were clearly designed to create an anti-Qatar sentiment in the West”.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Qatar’s response to the bloc’s conditions had “no substance” and reflected its lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation.
“The boycott will remain,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said.
Even though the four Arab states did not announce any new sanctions, Jubeir said they would “take steps at the appropriate time”.
Further isolation of Qatar
The UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, however, has predicted more isolation for Qatar. “Next greater isolation, incremental measures and reputational damage stemming from Doha’s continued support for extremism and terrorism,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump spoke to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, asking him to urge all parties “to negotiate constructively”, reported AFP.
On July 1, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani had rejected the 13 demands made by Saudi Arabia and its allies, saying they were never meant to be accepted.
Among its demands, they insisted that Qatar shut down state-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera and other news networks, sever relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and also cut all ties with Iran, which has geo-political differences with Saudi Arabia.
Qatar had rejected the demands, calling them “neither reasonable nor actionable”.