DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A quartet of Arab nations said early Wednesday they had received Qatar’s response to their demands for ending a diplomatic crisis gripping the Persian Gulf, just ahead of a planned meeting in Cairo.
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates said in a joint statement they would respond “in a timely manner.” The countries did not elaborate on what steps they could take, though a major credit rating agency warned it had changed Qatar’s economic outlook to negative over the turmoil.
The countries cut ties to the FIFA 2022 World Cup host early last month over its alleged support for extremist groups and ties with Iran. Qatar denies supporting extremists and has defended its warm relations with Iran; the two countries share a massive undersea natural gas field.
The nations issued a 13-point list of demands on June 22, giving Qatar 10 days to comply. They later extended the deadline by another 48 hours at the request of Kuwait, which has acted as a mediator to resolve the crisis. That deadline expired early Wednesday morning.
Later Wednesday, foreign ministers from the four Arab countries will meet in Cairo to discuss their next move. Late Tuesday, Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency reported intelligence agency chiefs from those countries had met in Cairo, likely discussing the crisis.