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Saudi-led bloc to continue Qatar boycott after ‘negative’ response to demands

Foreign ministers of the Saudi-led bloc that imposed an embargo on Qatar said Wednesday they regretted Qatar’s “negative” response to a list of demands to end a diplomatic crisis.

The ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates “regret the negative response from Qatar,” they said, in a statement read out by Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry, after meeting in Cairo.

Speaking to reporters after reading the statement, Shoukry said Qatar’s response to the bloc’s conditions had “no substance”.

Qatar calls for dialogue

Meanwhile, Qatar’s foreign minister called for “dialogue” to resolve the Gulf diplomatic crisis, accusing Arab states that have cut ties with Qatar of trying to undermine the nation’s sovereignty.

H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani was speaking at the Chatham House think tank in London.

“As the 48 hours extension is coming to an end, Qatar continues to call for dialogue despite the violation of the international law… and despite the siege that is a clear aggression and an insult to all international treaties,” he said.

“We welcome any serious efforts to resolve our differences with our neighbours,” he said, adding however that countries imposing a blockade on Qatar should make the first move towards dialogue.

Saudi-led block to take steps at appropriate time

But the Saudi-led block ministers stopped short of announcing an escalation after the expiry of a deadline they had set for Qatar, with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir saying they would “take steps at the appropriate time”.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Saudi foreign ministry said they had received Qatar’s response to their demands — which include Doha ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood and closing broadcaster Al-Jazeera.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have not said what steps they could take next.

The countries issued the 13-point list of demands on June 22, giving Qatar 10 days to respond. The deadline was extended by 48 hours on Sunday at the request of Kuwait, which is mediating in the crisis, and Qatar handed in the response on Monday.

Published on 5 July 2017