CAIRO: Foreign ministers of the Saudi-led bloc that imposed an embargo on Qatar said Wednesday they regretted the emirate’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”.
But the 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, but there are fears of a wider embargo that would hurt the Qatari economy, with credit ratings agency Moody’s announcing it was changing emirate’s outlook to negative from stable over the crisis.
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.