Arab states slam Qatari response to demands
In a joint statement, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain slam Qatar's response to their demands, which includes cutting back ties with Iran and severing links with Muslim Brotherhood; Egyptian FM: 'Qatar's position reflects a failure to realize the gravity of the situation.'
"The response the four states got was overall negative and lacked any content. We find it did not provide a basis for Qatar to retreat from its policies," Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said reading out a joint statement. Shoukry also added that Doha's response was a "position that reflects a failure to realize the gravity of the situation."
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain have cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, which they accuse of supporting terrorism and allying with regional foe Iran. Doha denies the charges.
However, according to Doha's foreign minister, the demands made of Qatar were designed to be rejected, explaining that their ultimatum was aimed not at tackling terrorism but at curtailing his country's sovereignty.
"This list of demands is made to be rejected. It's not meant to be accepted or ... to be negotiated," Sheikh Mohammed said, adding that Qatar was willing to engage in further dialogue given "the proper conditions".
The demands included severing ties with terrorist groups, closing down the pan-Arab Al Jazeera satellite channel, downgrading ties with arch-rival Iran and closing a Turkish air base in Qatar. Turkey urged the Arab countries to overcome their differences "in a brotherly" manner, but emphasized that the Turkish base is for the benefit of the region's security and that it "is not an occupation, an annexation force."
Foreign ministers of the four states met in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the situation after a deadline they gave Qatar to meet 13 demands expired.
"The political and economic boycott will continue until Qatar changes its policies for the better," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said at a news conference.