Trump offers to help resolve rift between Qatar, Gulf nations

"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.

"If the actions become protracted then it's probable that customers outside the region will seek increasingly to book on competitor airlines to avoid the longer routings and disruptions which Qatar is now subjected to as a result of overflight bans", Strickland said.

Doha, for its part, strenuously denies that it is a sponsor of terrorism, describing the moves to diplomatically isolate it as "unjustified".

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

Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain are among several states that this week cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, in the worst crisis to hit the Gulf in recent years. "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!"

The U.S. has a massive air base in Qatar's capital city of Doha, with hosts as many as 10,000 American military personnel. The US military considers it a strategic interest not to concentrate its regional facilities in one country or axis. But they were apparently relieved by the walking back of Mr Trump's tweets, after he was briefed by his national security staff. "Our relationship with the United States speaks for itself".

The countries cited Qatar's relations with Iran and what they say is Qatar's support for extremist groups like al Qaeda and Hamas, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.

It has also become closer to Moscow, even as they support opposing sides in the Syrian war and are also competitors in the gas market.

He also said Turkey, which on Wednesday sped up the planned deployment of troops to Qatar, is helping to ensure stability in the region. "The conditions have to start with that statement [by Qatar], that will be by Qatar", he said.

Soccer's world governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association also has said it remains in regular contact with Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup.

Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is set to meet with his Qatari counterpart in Moscow on Saturday, and Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke with King Salman and Egypt's president earlier in the week.

Led by Kuwait, mediation efforts are now underway to resolve the crisis, which Gargash said was the result of "an accumulation over many, many years of subversive Qatari politics and support for extremism and terrorist organizations".

  • Leroy Wright