Kuwait attempting to mediate resolution with Qatar to solve Gulf crisis

The President did not express concern or condemn the move by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to break off relations with Qatar in the worst diplomatic crisis to hit Gulf Arab states in decades.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told CNNMoney in April that his airline has seen a drop in bookings but it was "manageable".

However, analysts say the rift is also driven by the belief that Qatar is too closely aligned with Iran.

Gulf allies have repeatedly criticized Qatar for alleged support of the Muslim Brotherhood, a almost 100-year-old Islamist group considered a terrorist organization by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Saudi Arabia's Civil Aviation authority announced Tuesday it would cancel all licenses granted to Qatar Airways, close all its offices in the kingdom within 48 hours and withdraw licenses of all Qatar Airways employees, according to a statement from the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) published by state-run media. Philippine government records show there are 220,000 Filipinos in Qatar working as skilled and professional workers and their remittance have been benefitting Filipino families back home and their skills are also helping Qatar's economy.

Erdogan "has initiated diplomatic efforts to resolve this dispute between friends and brothers in line with the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan", spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement late Monday.

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

The Saudi news agency also said Libya and Yemen had cut ties with Qatar, but those claims have not been independently verified.

It was unclear how Trump's broadside against Qatar and any resulting diplomatic fallout might affect the US military presence in Qatar, where there are roughly 10,000 American troops and a major USA base.

The United States, Russia, France, Iran and Turkey have all called for the row to be resolved through dialogue. More than 1 million Filipinos reside and work in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.

Qatar's leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait and, in order to allow Kuwait to mediate, made a decision to put off a planned speech to the nation, the foreign minister said.

Egyptian officials say the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors has yet to affect the 300,000 Egyptian workers in the tiny, energy-rich country, amid fears they could be expelled or stranded. Its Gulf Arab neighbors responded by blocking Qatari-based media, including Al-Jazeera.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Tuesday the damage caused by economic measures taken by some Arab states against Qatar should convince it change its policies, including regarding extremist groups. It broadcasts in North America, Europe and Asia, as well as the Middle East and North Africa.

The five countries also ordered Qatari citizens to leave their territories within two weeks, signalling a serious rift in a region roiled by militant turbulence.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV that Qatar wants to give Kuwait's ruler the ability to "proceed and communicate with the parties to the crisis and to try to contain the issue".

Kuwaiti emir reportedly urged his counterpart "to exercise self-restraint and refrain from steps that would escalate the situation", the agency reported. While he has even held out hopes that a communal effort could pave the way for Israeli-Arab rapprochement, the Qatar crisis serves as a reminder of the region's many fault lines that challenge US diplomacy.

  • Zachary Reyes