EghtesadOnline: A Saudi-led bloc of nations isolating Qatar will meet in Egypt on Wednesday to discuss how to go forward as their deadline for Qatari compliance with a list of tough demands expires.
Foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt will sit down in Cairo exactly a month after their governments cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar. Additional punitive measures may emerge from the meeting following the expiry of the deadline, which was extended by 48 hours on Monday.
According to Bloomberg, the isolation is hurting Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, and Moody’s Investors Service cut its credit outlook to negative on Tuesday. Details of the Qatari response to the bloc’s 13 demands for ending the standoff haven’t been released, but Saudi Arabia and its allies aren’t likely to accept it, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Tuesday, following a briefing on the Qatari reply.
The dispute may intensify as state-run companies get involved, said Allison Wood, a Middle East and North Africa analyst with Control Risks in Dubai.
“It’s unlikely that we’re going to see anything that shows a compromise of any sort in light of the rhetoric coming from both sides,” Wood said. “We may see a lot of Emirati companies with government ownership seek to divest their supply chains from Qatar, and move to cut any economic ties as a first step.”
Qatar Petroleum said it is taking “legal actions” after Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. declared force majeure to halt shipments from Qatar of condensate, a light oil liquid. An official for the Abu Dhabi company, known as Adnoc, denied force majeure was invoked and said contracts with Qatar ended in June.
Qatar denies the bloc’s charge that it sponsors terrorism and says the demands -- including downgrading ties with Iran, ending Turkey’s military presence in the country and shutting the Al Jazeera media network -- were deliberately made so steep that they would be rejected.