Arab states that have cut ties with Qatar vowed on Wednesday to maintain their boycott of the emirate, criticizing its "negative" response to their list of demands to end the diplomatic crisis. Qatar appealed for "dialogue" to resolve the row.
At a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday the four nations' foreign ministers refrained from slapping further sanctions on Qatar but voiced disappointment at Doha's failure to comply with their 13 demands after the expiry of the deadline."The boycott will remain," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said at news conference in the Egyptian capital. The four Arab states stopped short of announcing new sanctions but Jubeir said they would "take steps at the appropriate time." The UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, predicted more isolation for Qatar. "Next greater isolation, incremental measures and reputational damage stemming from Doha's continued support for extremism & terrorism," he tweeted.
Qatar has said repeatedly it is ready for talks on the crisis, and Sheikh Mohammed reiterated that on Wednesday. "We welcome any serious efforts to resolve our differences with our neighbors," he said. The minister accused Saudi Arabia and its regional allies of "demanding that we must surrender our sovereignty as the price for ending the siege."
Riyadh and its supporters have severed air, sea and ground links with Qatar, cutting off vital routes for imports including food. They also ordered Qatari citizens to leave their territories and took various steps against Qatari firms and financial institutions.
Among their demands is for Qatar to end an accord under which Turkey maintains a military base in the Gulf state. President Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday reaffirmed Turkey's support for Qatar in its dispute with four other Arab states, saying their demands against the tiny Gulf nation were unacceptable. Turkey, the most powerful regional country to stand by Qatar, has sent 100 cargo planes with supplies since its neighbors cut air and sea links. It has also rushed through legislation to send more troops to the military base in Doha. Two contingents of Turkish troops with columns of armored vehicles have arrived since the crisis erupted on June 5.
The crisis has raised concerns of economic consequences as well as growing instability in the region, home to some of the world's largest energy exporters and key Western allies which host U.S. military bases. Energy-rich Qatar has been defiant throughout the crisis, insisting it can weather action taken against it. On Tuesday it even announced a major boost in planned natural gas output, with Qatar Petroleum saying it would increase production to 100 million tons a year by 2024, up 30 percent from current levels. Qatar is the world's leading producer of liquefied natural gas. Its energy riches have transformed Qatar into one of the world's wealthiest countries, a major international investor and a regional player that will host the 2022 football World Cup.