Plot Thickens: UAE Threatens Qatar With Economic Sanctions Over Terror Funding

Al Qassemi also warned Qatar should not rely on hosting some 10,000 American troops at its al-Udeid Air Base as protection against the Arab nations lined up against it. U.S. President Donald Trump made a series of tweets Tuesday calling into question his commitment to the peninsular nation after earlier telling Qatar's ruling emir that "we've been friends now for a long time".

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain lead a string of countries that this week cut ties with Qatar over what they say is the emirate's financing of extremist groups and its ties to Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional arch-rival.

The leader of Qatar reportedly has no plans to accept President Trump's invitation for a meeting at the White House until the country moves past an effort by several Persian Gulf neighbors to isolate the nation. He said Qatar needed to shut down or limit its Al-Jazeera news network, as well as stop funding extremist groups and others.

Gargash noted that the current approach was going to be much harsher that the one applied in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE recalled their ambassadors from Qatar amid eight-month rift over the latter's support for Islamist movements, including Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood (outlawed in Russia).

The Gulf countries have ordered their citizens out of Qatar and gave Qataris overseas 14 days to return home.

Russian hackers are believed to have breached Qatar's state news agency in order to plant a fabricated news story that may have influenced the diplomatic crisis in the Middle East, CNN reported on Tuesday.

Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the country has not been presented with a list of demands by the nations that cut diplomatic and transport ties, but said the dispute must be solved peacefully. It's also a home to the forward headquarters of CENTCOM, the US military's central command in the region.

The UAE did not hack the Qatari news agency, Gargash said. That's even after Kuwait's emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah flew to Qatar to discuss the crisis with officials.

Bans on Doha's fleet using regional ports and anchorages are threatening to halt some of its exports and disrupt those of liquefied natural gas.

Seyyed Reza Nourani, the head Agricultural Products Exporters and Importers Association of Iran, was quoted by news agencies that shipments to Qatar would take 12 hours to reach Qatar.

Staff speak with passengers at Hamad International Airport in Doha Wednesday. Newspapers and television channels in the region have also been engaged in a war of words. Its foreign minister has struck a defiant tone in interviews, even after anxious residents emptied grocery stores in its capital of Doha as Saudi Arabia has blocked trucks carrying food from entering the country.

"You can not rule out further measures".

  • Zachary Reyes