Four Arab nations seeking to isolate Qatar for its alleged support for terrorism issued a statement on Wednesday saying Doha’s response to their demands to end the crisis was “not serious.”

The statement came after foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain met in Egypt’s capital after receiving Doha’s response to their list of demands.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri told reporters at a joint news conference in Cairo that Qatar’s response was “generally negative” and failed to “lay the foundation for Qatar’s reversal of the policies it pursues.”

He also described Doha’s response as a “position that reflects a failure to realize the gravity of the situation.”

The four countries cut diplomatic ties to Qatar last month in large part over their allegations that it supports extremist groups. Qatar denies backing extremists.

They later issued a 13-point list of demands to Qatar to end the standoff. Qatar submitted a written response to mediator Kuwait on Monday. The response has not been made public.

Earlier, Turkey’s president underlined his country’s support for Qatar and its anger at the demand by the four nations that Doha close a Turkish military base in the capital. 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying in an interview with German weekly Die Zeit published on Wednesday that “what is being done with Qatar runs counter to international law.”

He said the demand for the Turkish base to be closed shows “a lack of respect toward us and Qatar,” and added that “the Americans are also there, with 9,000 soldiers, and so are the French.”

GULF-QATAR/TURKEY

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan told the German magazine Die Zeit that the blockade and pressure against Qatar ‘runs counter to international law.’ The demands by Qatar’s neighbours include closure of a Turkish military base in Doha. (Murad Sezer/Reuters)

“Why are the Saudis disturbed by us and not by that? This is unacceptable,” he added. 

Erdogan also criticized a demand for the closure of broadcaster al-Jazeera, saying Ankara “will support Qatar in every way, because we share the same values, have good relations and we cannot be silent about the injustice.”

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with his Egyptian counterpart about the ongoing dispute on Wednesday morning. 

Trump called Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi from Air Force One, en route to Poland. He called on “all parties to negotiate constructively to resolve the dispute” with Qatar and to “stop terrorist financing and discredit extremist ideology,” according to a White House statement. 

Trump also raised the issue of North Korea in his call to el-Sissi, following Pyongyang’s ballistic missile test this week. He stressed the need to stop hosting North Korean guest workers, and economic or military benefits to North Korea.

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