Qatar's foreign minister says country 'not ready to surrender'

It warned it could further lower Qatar's rating "if additional or more severe restrictions from either Saudi Arabia and the group of states, or from additional trade partners, are announced".

Speaking after meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Berlin, Sigmar Gabriel said "a deep dispute between neighbors is the last thing that is needed" in a region already beset by crises and the threat of greater military conflict.

Trump also encouraged unity in the Gulf region with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during a telephone call on Tuesday, the White House said.

Qatar's isolation from powerful fellow Arab states advanced, however.

Doha has denied rumours that its military has been put on high alert on the Saudi border following a diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours.

The Qatar airways website has been blocked in the UAE.

"This ruling applies to all airlines flying into the UAE", the spokesman said in the statement.

Recently, six Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as the Western-recognised governments of Yemen and Libya, abruptly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, after accusing it of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamist political movement that allegedly supports pro-Iran militias, and funding terror activities.

The United Arab Emirates has banned people from publishing expressions of sympathy toward Qatar and will punish offenders with a jail term of up to 15 years, the UAE-based newspaper Gulf News and pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya reported on Wednesday. Jordan has downgraded its diplomatic representation and revoked the license of Doha-based TV channel Al Jazeera. But financial markets were relatively calm after some recent jumps.

But in some of the strongest comments yet, Bahrain's foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, reportedly told the Saudi newspaper Mecca he doubted whether Qatar would change its behaviour.

"Additionally, the president emphasised the importance of maintaining a united Gulf Cooperation Council to promote regional stability, but never at the expense of eliminating funding for radical extremism or defeating terrorism", it added. He said his country was "protecting the world from potential terrorists".

  • Zachary Reyes