22:38 GMT +321 September 2017
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    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (2-L), UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L), Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R), and Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa (2-R) meet to discuss the diplomatic situation with Qatar, in Cairo, Egypt, July, 5 2017

    Four Countries Which Cut Ties With Qatar Refraining From Further Escalation

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    On Wednesday, the ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates gathered in Cairo to discuss Doha's rejection of their demands. They issued a joint statement, but refrained from further escalation, Egyptian political analyst Hassan Nafie told Sputnik.

    Saudi Arabia and its allies refrained on Wednesday from imposing fresh sanctions on Qatar but voiced disappointment at the rejection of their demands and said their boycott of the country would continue "until Qatar changes its policies for the better."

    Qatar's response to the demands has not been made public.

    The Arab countries have demanded Qatar curtail its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, shut down the pan-Arab Al Jazeera satellite TV channel, close a Turkish military base and downgrade its relations with Iran.

    "There were real concerns of further escalation before the meeting of the four states, however their statement was counter to expectations and did not contain any escalating steps," the political analyst told Sputnik.

    Hassan Nafie noted that with their statement, the quartet demonstrated its desire to provide a chance and more time to the forces who are interested in peaceful solution to the Gulf crisis, as well as the understanding that insistence in this situation will harm all parties to the conflict.

    However the results of the meeting also signaled that the solution of the Qatari crisis will take time due to its complexity.

    "It is not only about the support or sponsorship of the Muslim Brotherhood….it is also interconnected with the regional situation, Arab-Israeli conflict and reflects the desire of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to play a leading role in the region," the expert said.

    The role of the US

    The expert however noted that the US position on the crisis will play the decisive role.

    The recent reports suggest that the US secretary of state will fly to the Gulf on Monday. Rex Tillerson will fly to Kuwait, which has tried to mediate between the two sides. A US state department spokeswoman said Washington was growing “increasingly concerned that the dispute is at an impasse” and could drag on for months.

    Hassan Nafie noted that the influence of the US could have been noticed already on Wednesday, when the statement of the quartet was postponed until the results of the conversation between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and US President Donald Trump.

    "It looks like the conversation has had a certain impact at least on the tone of the statement and moderated the rhetoric. Apparently, the US has interfered in order to prevent escalation and give a chance for the settlement of the conflict," the political analyst concluded.

    Tags:
    diplomatic crisis, regional conflict, escalation, Persian Gulf, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
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