Trump eases Qatar critique, offers to mediate Gulf spat

Donald Trump clearly didn't know what he was doing when he tweetstormed against Qatar just weeks after offering to sell the gulf nation weapons, and his underlings throughout government didn't quite know what to do with his statements, either.

"There will be no shortage of food and other products as more than 95 percent of imports from Qatar arrive by air and sea", Qatari Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani said.

"The President offered to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary", it said.

As anger mounted in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar's foreign minister tried to limit the fallout. Federal Bureau of Investigation experts visited Qatar late last month to analyse an alleged cyber breach that saw the hackers place the fake story with Qatar's state news agency, CNN said.

Qatar denies trying to pay ransom money to secure the release of the hostages, although foreign minister al-Thani said it sent money "to support the authorities in the release of Qatari abductees". Sheikh Sabah earlier Wednesday traveled to Dubai where he met with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who also serves as prime minister and vice president of the UAE.

Labour secretary Silvestre Bello said the ban took effect on Tuesday, but there is no plan yet to repatriate the more than 200,000 Filipino workers in Qatar.

Qatar's credit quality would decline if tensions with its Gulf neighbors continue for much longer, raising the country's debt ratio and hurting banks' liquidity, Moody's ratings agency said on Thursday.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday over longstanding allegations that Doha is courting Iran, which they deem the region's biggest external threat, and supporting Islamist groups, seen as the biggest internal threat.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain gave Qatari citizens 14 days to leave and closed their airspace to all Qatari flights.

The split among the Arab states erupted last month after Trump visited Saudi Arabia where he accused Iran of "destabilizing interventions" in Arab lands. Moscow said the report was false.

Qatar is also a major regional diplomatic player and worldwide investor and is set to host the World Cup, football's biggest tournament, in 2022.

Reports that Qatari officials paid hundreds of millions of dollars to Iran-backed groups in an April deal to free 26 of its citizens kidnapped in Iraq past year has also been an irritant in relations between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

  • Zachary Reyes