Qatar’s response to four Arab states’ demands was “very negative” and “indicates a lack of awareness of how dangerous the situation is,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated on Wednesday in Cairo.
And the political boycott by the four nations — Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — will continue until Qatar changes its policies, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubair said.
“We will consult and we will take future steps in the right time,” Al-Jubair said.
Shoukry and Al-Jubair spoke after they and their counterparts from the UAE and Bahrain met in Cairo to discuss Qatar’s response to a list of demands to resolve the diplomatic standoff.
The four foreign ministers will next meet in Manama, Bahrain, at an unspecified date, Shoukry said.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s foreign minister says his country won’t comply with any demands that it considers in violation of international law.
“If you are looking at the demands — there are accusations that Qatar is supporting terrorism — they are shutting free speech, shutting the media outlets, expelling people … . So there are a lot of demands which are against the international law,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
The four Arab states in a diplomatic standoff with Qatar say they have received a response from Doha to their list of demands, just as the quartet’s foreign ministers prepare to meet in Cairo to coordinate actions over the Gulf crisis.
Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia suspended diplomatic relations and cut off land, sea and air travel to Qatar last month, accusing the country of funding terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East. Qatar has rejected those accusations.
The country had until Wednesday to reply to a list of 13 stipulations after the four-country bloc had agreed to extend the initial deadline by 48 hours.
The demands included the closure of the Al Jazeera media network, a reduction in diplomatic ties with Iran and the halting of a Turkish military base in Qatar.
The Qatari response was handed over by Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator in the dispute.
Quartet foreign ministers meet
Foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are set to meet in Cairo to “advance coordination and consultation” over the Qatar crisis, according to Egypt’s foreign ministry.
The ministry’s statement added that the ministers would be “exchanging views and assessments vis-a-vis the ongoing international and regional contacts” with regards to the diplomatic standoff.
The meeting happens a day after the quartet’s intelligence chiefs met in Cairo, according to Egypt’s official news agency MENA.
It’s not known how many of the demands, if any, Qatar has agreed to meet, but Qatar’s foreign minister has previously said the list had obligations that couldn’t be met and was “made to be rejected.”
Last week, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called the coalition’s list of demands “non-negotiable.”
Mohammed Gargash Anwar, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, told CNN on Sunday that any future agreement with Qatar must be monitored by the US and European states to ensure that Al Jazeera and others did not incite terrorism or extremism, and that terror groups were not aided politically by or from Qatar.
The dispute is likely to exacerbate fissures in the tenuous alliances that shape Middle East politics, analysts say. One of the key demands from the Arab bloc was for Qatar to reduce its ties with Iran, an adversary of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states.
Weeks after the spat surfaced, Saudi King Salman named his son, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, as the heir to the throne.
Mohammed bin Salman is currently the country’s defense minister and is believed to favor a more confrontational approach against Iran.
The dispute also has ramifications for the United States, which has a large military base in Qatar.