Does not want "permanent rift" between Qatar, Gulf countries -senior U.S

The airline said passengers holding a confirmed Qatar Airways ticket to any of the four countries between June 5 and July 6 are permitted to rebook their flights up to 30 days after their current departure date.

A commercial banker in fellow GCC state Kuwait, which did not sever diplomatic ties with Qatar, said on Tuesday that business with Qatari institutions was continuing as normal.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday and ordered their land, sea and airports closed to Qatari aircraft and vessels.

In announcing the decision to cut ties, Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of providing support to Shi'ite Iran, which is in a tussle for regional supremacy with Riyadh, and to Islamist militants.

Gulf states have long accused Qatar of supporting extremist groups, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood.

US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017.

The country imports 90 percent of its food, "mostly through the land border with Saudi Arabia", according to the UAE site The National.

Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.

"The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state", it said, insisting authorities would "take all measures foil attempts to affect or harm Qatar's society and economy".

The Saudi-led coalition battling Iran-backed rebels in Yemen said it had expelled Qatar from the group for providing "support to (terrorist) organisations" there.

Nervousness over the situation left Qatar's main share index more than 7% lower on Monday. Qatar denied the comments, saying it had been the victim of a "cybercrime".

USA officials in multiple agencies stressed their desire to promote a reconciliation between the Saudi-led group and Qatar, a state of 2.5 million people with vast natural gas reserves.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he did not expect the announcement to have "any significant impact. on the unified fight against terrorism".

With an estimated $335 billion (£259.6 billion) of assets in its sovereign wealth fund and its gas exports earning billions of dollars every month, Qatar has enough financial power to protect its banks.

Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin reiterated Turkey's sadness over the incident, and said it stood ready help if needed.

Saudi Arabia said it was cutting ties due to Qatar's "embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region", including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and militants supported by Iran in the kingdom's restive Eastern Province.

"We don't want to see some kind of permanent rift and I suspect we won't", said the senior Trump administration official on condition of anonymity, adding the United States would send a representative if the Gulf Cooperation Council nations met to discuss the rift with Qatar.

  • Leroy Wright