Quartet: Qatar's Response is Negative… its Destructive Role not Tolerated


The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates met yesterday in Cairo Egypt to decide the fate of the diplomatic crisis in the Middle East involving Qatar. Qatar, a small peninsular country protruding into the Gulf, also hosts the biggest U.S. military base in the region as a bulwark against Iran.

Those demands included that Qatar curtail support for the Muslim Brotherhood, shut down the pan-Arab Al Jazeera satellite TV channel, close a Turkish military base and downgrade its relations with rival Iran.

"With respect to future measures, we are in constant communication.

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 after the meeting.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt as well as the internationally recognized government of war-torn Yemen broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar in a major global rift on June 5, 2017.

That deadline was extended by 48 hours on Sunday, when Qatar sent a letter to Kuwaiti mediators effectively refusing to engage with the demands.

Earlier, Qatar had accused the four Arab nations of "clear aggression" and said the allegations against the country "were clearly designed to create an anti-Qatar sentiment in the West".

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The Turkish base was built in Qatar after getting the go ahead but now Saudi Arabia wants it to be closed as part of demands directed to Doha in the ongoing crisis in the Arab Gulf.

Saudi's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir highlighted that they will "take the right steps at the right time" without going into details while stressing that "Qatar must change its policies for our stance to change".

Predictably the Saudi embassy in London categorically denied the claim but the accusation comes at a time when United Kingdom ministers are under public pressure to finalise their own report on UK-based Islamist groups, following a series of deadly bomb blasts carried out by religious extremists in the country.

Observers, including diplomats and analysts based in the Gulf, said there is more latitude for economic - rather than political - pressure to be ratcheted up, with steps that dent Qatar's reputation and increase risks for worldwide companies and banks doing business with Doha.

The statement was issued after the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain held a meeting in Cairo.

The Saudi-led alliance has "plenty of cards to play", including more financial sanctions, but none of the options are "painless things to do", said David Andrew Weinberg, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The White House said Trump reiterated the need for all countries "to stop terrorist financing and discredit extremist ideology".