Toronto - Citing what they called Qatar’s “negative response” to their list of thirteen demands to end the crisis, the Saudi-led bloc of further sanctions following a meeting in Cairo Wednesday.
Toronto – Citing what they called Qatar’s “negative response” to their list of thirteen demands to end the crisis, the Saudi-led bloc of further sanctions following a meeting in Cairo Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, held a joint press conference following their meeting, during which they accused Qatar of lacking an “understanding of the seriousness and gravity of the situation.”
In London, ahead of the ministers’ statements, Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, described the blockade of his country as “a siege that is a clear aggression and an insult,” indicating that, despite the granting of a 48-hour deadline extension, Qatar’s perspective on the crisis had not changed.
The answer to our disagreement,” he continued, “is not blockades and ultimatums, it is dialogue and reason.”
The start of the press conference was reportedly delayed by a telephone conversation which took place between US President, Donald Trump, and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. According to a White House statement, Trump urged El-Sisi to exert his influence “to negotiate constructively to resolve the dispute.”
Trump also “reiterated the need for all countries to follow through on their commitments at the Riyadh Summit to stop terrorist financing and discredit extremist ideology.”
El-Sisi’s office released a statement after the conversation which, in part, stated that “the visions of the two presidents on dealing with the current regional crises were in line, especially when it comes to reaching political settlements which contribute to regional security and stability.”
Saudi foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, stated following the Cairo meeting that additional sanctions will be leveled after Qatar’s rejection of the blockade’s demands. He stressed that any action taken would conform to international law.
It is widely speculated that these additional sanctions could involve Saudi, UAE and Bahraini financial institutions pulling their deposits and loans from Qatar.
Al-Jubeir also reiterated the blockade’s commitment to fighting the financing of organized terrorism but stressed that the region cannot accomplish the daunting task alone. “It has to be an international effort,” he said, “There can be no loose wheels.”
The Cairo meeting coincides with the expiration of the deadline for Qatar complying with the demands, which it received June 22. The demands included the closure of news agency, Al Jazeera, the dismantling of a Turkish military base located within Qatari borders, a cooling off in its relations with Iran and an immediate cessation of what it alleges is Qatari financing of terrorist organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Qatar has insisted from the onset of the crisis that all allegations against it are baseless. Instead, Qatar has contended that the blockade is simply an “attack on its independent foreign policy and freedom of speech in the region.”