USA calls on Arab nations to ease blockade against Qatar

Elias Hubbard
June 13, 2017

So far, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Mauritania and the Maldives have broken diplomatic ties with Qatar, while Jordan has announced that it will reduce its diplomatic representation in that country and Senegal has called its envoy to the emirate home for consultations.

Donald Trump leveled fresh accusations at besieged Qatar during Friday's brief press conference.

On March 3, 2014, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE recalled their ambassadors to Qatar and severed diplomatic ties with the country until eight months later when Qatar agreed to deport seven senior figures of Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Qatar long has denied funding extremists, and its foreign minister has struck a defiant tone in interviews, even after anxious residents emptied grocery stores in its capital of Doha. They then sought to clean up the president's comments by stressing U.S. -Qatari cooperation remained intact and crediting the country with working hard to stem funding and support for extremists.

"And we hope that our brother Qatar will now take the right steps in order to end this crisis".

Iran blamed arch-foe Saudi Arabia for the attack, which was claimed by the militant group ISIS.

Gabriel said Germany "worried about the possible consequences and a growing escalation" after the "very tough" measures taken against Qatar.

Referring to the regional group that includes Qatar, the President also "reiterated that a united Gulf Cooperation Council and a strong United States-Gulf Cooperation Council partnership are critical to defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability".

"There is no shortage in food supplies".

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis was informed of the Gulf nations' plans to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman.

"If anyone thinks they are going to impose anything on my internal affairs or my internal issues, this is not going to happen", Sheikh Mohammed said.

That was enough, it seemed, to persuade Qatar the USA wasn't abandoning its strategic partner.

Emirati officials said they perceived Trump's tweets as a sign Qatar shouldn't count on America taking its side despite US having some 10,000 troops based in the country's al-Udeid Air Base.

The United Arab Emirates has banned people from publishing expressions of sympathy toward Qatar and will punish offenders with a jail term of up to 15 years, the UAE-based newspaper Gulf News and pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya reported on Wednesday. The report was widely picked up by regional media outlets, which continued circulating it after Qatar's denial.

Foreigners residing in Qatar and in possession of a Qatari residence visa would also not be eligible for visa on arrival in the UAE, Etihad spokesman said in an email.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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