Arab countries boycotting Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism were still awaiting a response to their demands via mediator Kuwait, asserted United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahayan today.
Speaking at a press conference with his German counterpart, he said, “I think it is premature to talk about extra sanctions ... this depends on what we will hear from our brothers in Kuwait.”
Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's foreign minister said, “The diplomatic stand-off in the Gulf region between Qatar and its neighbours gives the entire region an opportunity to move together to step up its fight against terrorism financing.” He was visiting Abu Dhabi on the second day of his regional tour.
Saudi Minister appears optimistic
Meanwhile, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs appeared optimistic and said, “We can reach a solution to this crisis.”
He said, “The four countries are keen to build the best relations with our brothers in Qatar and that the aim of the measures that have been taken is to change the policies of Qatar which we consider to be detrimental to Qatar, the countries of the region and the world.”
Fear of withdrawal of funds from Qatar
As uncertainty looms over the Qatar crisis, it is feared that funds may be pulled from Doha banks. Business circles in the Gulf region are abuzz with the news that Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini banks may receive official guidance to pull out deposits and interbank loans from Qatar if it fails to act on the demands of the Arab nations.
The amount that will commutatively withdrawn by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain may run up to as much as USD35 billion from the banking sector - this is about 20 per cent of the annual GDP of Qatar - if a decision is taken to cut off financial ties with Doha, according to a Bank of America-Merrill Lynch report.
The local banking system in Qatar is largely dependent on foreign currency with the Qatar Central Bank data showing that non-residents accounted for 24 per cent of total deposits in 18 lending institutions in the country last April. The share of non-resident deposits is just 1.2 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 12 per cent in the UAE.