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Qatar Blockade To Continue As Doha Shrugs Off Ultimatum

Foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain released statements following a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday, after the latest deadline they had set to Qatar expired on Tuesday night.

The four Arab nations, locked in a diplomatic crisis with Qatar, dismissed Doha’s response to their demands as “not serious” and pledged to continue to keep the Gulf state under political and economic sanctions until it changes its policies. They also “expressed regret with regards to the negative response from Qatar, which showed complacency and non-seriousness to deal with the root of the problem and reconsider their policies and practices.”

(Click to enlarge)

Arab Foreign Ministers meet to discuss the diplomatic situation with Qatar, in Cairo, Egypt.

Speaking to reporters, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said that Qatar’s response to the four Arab states’ list of demands, which was passed on via intermediary Kuwait on Monday, was “generally negative” and failed to “lay the foundation for Qatar's reversal of the policies it pursues.”

He added that Qatar’s reply "lacked content", and that it was no "longer possible to tolerate Qatari acts." Shukri also accused Qatar of failing “to realize the gravity of the situation,” according to AP.

Separately, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir says the alliance will weigh more measures against Qatar, and reserves the right to take action when appropriate. He also made it clear that “this is not a response to the Kuwait letter” so something more formal may follow as “consultations are ongoing." He also said that the Boycott will continue until Qatar changes policy, adding that it was no surprise that Iran is trying to get closer to Qatar, while expressing hopes that Turkey will remain neutral. Related: Saudi Reshuffle Could Completely Shake Up Oil Markets

In other words, it appears that while nothing firm was decided, “the boycott will continue until Qatar changes policy” according to the Saudi.

The Saudi-led alliances will meet again in Manama, Bahrain to discuss next steps.

Earlier in the day, Qatar's Foreign Minister accused four Arab neighbors of "clear aggression" against his country. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said charges cited by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in cutting diplomatic and transport links a month ago "were clearly designed to create anti-Qatar sentiment in the west".

"Qatar continues to call for dialogue despite the violation of international laws and regulations, despite the separation of 12,000 families, despite the siege that is a clear aggression and an insult to all international treaties, bodies and jurisdictions," he told a meeting at London's Chatham House think-tank.

Qatar “wasn’t built on oppression, fear, censorship, has an independent view on global and regional events,” the official added. Also, the country successfully “mediated in 10 international portfolios in the course of the last 8 years,” without “interfering in the internal affairs of others.”

Qatar remains “open for dialogue, not an ultimatum,” as the country’s authorities believe that “citizens everywhere should have the right to a government that is responsive to their needs,” and their country, despite not being a democracy, caters to these needs. “That’s why Qatar wasn’t alarmed and threatened by the Arab Spring movement [back in 2011],” the Qatari Foreign Minister said.

By Zero Hedge

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