Turkey to Send Troops to Qatar Amid Regional Diplomatic Crisis

"There are question marks over the future of GCC because internal ties in the council should be based on solidarity and cooperation and everyone knows that Gulf peoples are united by one culture as well as kinship", Sheikh Mohammed told Al Jazeera, adding that "using the council as a tool to impose a guardianship on a member state or thinking about imposing a guardianship on, interfering in our internal affairs and addressing the people is unacceptable".

Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers, a major recipient of Qatari aid, have called Saudi Arabia's call for Qatar to cut ties with the Palestinian militant group "regrettable" and said it contradicts traditional Arab support for the Palestinian cause.

He added: "Doha now is completely isolated".

Qatari citizens have been told they have 14 days to leave Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, and those countries also banned their own citizens from entering Qatar.

Throughout the interview, Sheikh Mohammed repeatedly denied that Qatar funded extremists and terrorist groups, the main reason given for this week's moves against it. Sheikh Hamad took over as Qatar's emir in 1995 and expanded his nation's presence on the worldwide scene through negotiating hostage releases, briefly flirting with diplomatic ties to Israel, hosting a Taliban office and creating Al-Jazeera.

"We believe this will exacerbate Qatar's external vulnerabilities and could put pressure on its economic growth and fiscal metrics", S&P said.

Qatar would not yield to it, he said.

Saudi Arabia has also closed off Qatar's only land border, a crucial lifeline for food imports.

And he was even tougher on media reports suggesting Qatar supports the Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels fighting the internationally recognised government in Yemen.

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

"Nothing short of a fundamental change in policy by Qatar would change this", he said. Qatar just finished one of the stadiums for the tournament, though others have yet to be built.

However, analysts say the rift is also driven by the belief that Qatar is too closely aligned with Iran.

Qatar has released an initial report into the alleged hack of its state-run news agency, an incident which helped spark a diplomatic crisis between the energy-rich country and Arab nations.

His comments took on further strength as the UAE's Justice Ministry warned social media users that they can face three to 15 years in prison time and fines starting from 500,000 dirhams ($136,000) for offering sympathy for Qatar.

Referring to tweets from US President Donald Trump about the diplomatic crisis, the foreign minister said that during Trump's recent visit to the region, he and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim discussed the issue "that the funding of terrorism needs to be stopped by various countries". "I think the Americans would choose to side with Saudi Arabia over any other country in the region".

  • Leroy Wright