Trump says Arab leaders complained about Qatar

Qatar, however, said it was facing a campaign aimed at weakening it, denying it was interfering in the affairs of other countries.

"During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology", he tweeted.

In a surprise move against a key U.S. ally, Trump suggested Qatar - home to the largest American airbase in the Middle East - was funding extremism as he tacitly backed the diplomatic blockade of the emirate.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is in talks to bring back Pakistani passengers of Qatar Airlines stranded in Doha after Saudi Arabia and four other Arab countries cut off ties with Qatar, an official said on Tuesday. Those countries announced Monday they were cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar, a move that ricocheted across the region as airlines suspended flights, ports closed to Qatari ships and anxious residents started stockpiling food.

"The measures are unjustified and are based on false and baseless claims", Qatar said in response to Monday's announcement. More than 1 million Filipinos reside and work in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.

The minister said early Tuesday that Kuwait's ruler had asked Qatar's ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to hold off on giving a speech about the crisis. Yemen, Libya's eastern-based government and the Maldives joined in later. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the move was rooted in longstanding differences and urged the parties to resolve them.

The comments lent credence to a view held by some analysts that Trump in his Middle East trip emboldened the Arab nations to take action even though Qatar is a US ally and hosts a USA military base.

Qatar's neighbours have long accused the country of tolerating or even encouraging support for extremist groups, including al-Qaida's branch in Syria, formerly called the Nusra Front.

Soccer's governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association said it remained in regular contact with Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup.

Tightening pressure, Saudi Arabia's aviation authority revoked the license of Qatar Airways and ordered its offices to be closed within 48 hours, a day after the kingdom, the UAE and Bahrain closed their airspace to Qatari commercial flights.

The Gulf countries ordered their citizens out of Qatar and gave Qataris overseas 14 days to return home to their peninsular nation, whose only land border is with Saudi Arabia. On its website, the carrier said the suspension of its flights would take effect Tuesday and customers are being offered a refund. It's ordering shipping agents not to receive any vessels owned by Qatari companies or Qatari nationals and not to unload any goods from Qatar.

  • Julie Sanders