Cairo – Four Arab nations seeking to isolate Qatar over its alleged support for extremist groups were angered Wednesday by what they said was a “negative” response by the tiny Gulf nation to their demands for ending the crisis roiling the region.
They vowed to maintain their boycott of the emirate. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said: “The boycott will remain.”
Doha’s response, they said, was “not serious” and betrayed Qatar’s “failure” to realize the gravity of the situation.
The announcement followed a meeting by foreign ministers from the four nations — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — in Cairo, shortly after they said they had received Doha’s reply.
The four accuse Qatar of supporting terror groups and also of maintaining close relations with Shiite power Iran — Saudi Arabia’s nemesis. They also say Qatar must stop meddling in their affairs.
Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shukri, told reporters Qatar’s response to the Arab states’ 13-point list of demands was “negative on the whole.” It did not “lay the foundations for Qatar’s abandonment of the policies it pursues. It’s a position that does not realize the gravity of the situation,” he added.
The ministers did not say what their next steps would be — that, they explained, would be announced after further consultations. They will meet next in Bahrain, but date has yet to be set.
The four Arab states stopped short of announcing new sanctions but Jubeir said they would “take steps at the appropriate time”.
The UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, predicted more isolation for Qatar.
“Next greater isolation, incremental measures & reputational damage stemming from Doha’s continued support for extremism & terrorism,” he tweeted.
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