Al Jazeera’s Senior Political Analyst Marwan Bishara says the four Arab countries that have cut ties with Qatar have limited choices when it comes to increasing pressure on the emirate.
The Saudi-led bloc vowed on Wednesday to maintain its boycott, criticising Qatar’s rejection of their list of demands to end the diplomatic crisis.
The military option appears to be off the table and diplomatic pressure on Qatar will split the Gulf Cooperation Council, Bishara said.
Qatar appealed for “dialogue” to resolve the row while US President Donald Trump spoke to Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to urge all parties “to negotiate constructively”.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, meeting in Cairo, “regret the negative response from Qatar,” they said in a statement.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Qatar’s response to the bloc’s conditions had “no substance” and “reflects a lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation”.
‘Isolation, incremental measures’
The talks in Cairo came a month after the four countries severed ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting extremism. Qatar has denied the charges.
“The boycott will remain,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said at the same 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 & reputational damage stemming from Doha's continued support for extremism & terrorism.
— د. أنور قرقاش (@AnwarGargash) July 5, 2017
The demands include Doha ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood and closing 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 Qatar’s outlook to negative over the crisis.