Qatar crisis: UAE threatens sympathisers with prison

The adviser repeated a statement released hours earlier which said the news agency had been hacked, seeming unaware that Reuters had already reported the denial.

As Kuwait's emir shuttled between Gulf capitals for talks, US President Donald Trump offered to host a White House meeting if necessary, in a change of heart from his initial support for the Saudi-led boycott.

Turkey, meanwhile, has approved a bill allowing more troops to be based in Qatar.

Al Jazeera's Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, said the Turkish government and some opposition parties had expressed support for Qatar during the rift and had said its isolation is not acceptable.

He also rejected "a military solution as an option" to resolving the crisis, and said Qatar could survive "forever" despite the measures taken against it.

Kuwait's emir traveled to Qatar to help mediate an end to a crisis that's seen Arab nations cut ties to the energy-rich nation home to a major US military base, though Emirati officials warned there was "nothing to negotiate".

Officials from Qatar and its Gulf Arab neighbours embarked on a quickening round of shuttle diplomacy, with the Qatari foreign minister due in Moscow and Brussels and Bahrain's king visiting his ally Egypt for talks on the crisis.

Saudi Arabia then cited the false item as part of its reason for instituting a diplomatic and economic blockade against Qatar, the report said.

Separately, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash denied that Gulf Arab states were seeking "regime change" and accused Qatar of being "the main champion of extremism and terrorism in the region". 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.

"Strict and firm action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of bias towards Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the United Arab Emirates, whether it be through the means of social media, or any type of written, visual or verbal form", Gulf News quoted UAE Attorney-General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi as saying.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain announced on Monday they were cutting diplomatic ties and closing air, sea and land links with Qatar, giving Qataris within their borders two weeks to leave.

Qatar hosts 8,000 United States military personnel at al Udeid, the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East and a key site for airstrikes targeting IS militants.

"We have all kinds of recordings taking place where they (Qatar) are coordinating with al Qaeda in Syria", he said. Al-Jazeera offices also have been shut down by authorities in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. "Actually, the co-operation between our security and intelligence agencies, between Qatar and Saudi has been serving the goal of the national security of Saudi", the Minister added.

An annual phone call to mark the start of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan between Tamim and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on May 27 aggravated the situation further.

  • Leroy Wright