Qatar blockade: USA urges Gulf states to ease restrictions

"We call on the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar", he said in Washington.

Gargash said the four Arab states seek a "political commitment to change course" by Qatar, including ending its support for the Brotherhood and Hamas. A tweet from President Trump Tuesday tied Qatar to the "funding of radical ideology".

"For Qatar, we want you back among the unity of responsible nations", Trump said. Families are being forcibly separated, and children pulled out of school.

Tillerson also said the blockade by Qatar's neighbors was "hindering USA military action in the region, and the campaign against ISIS", using an acronym for the Islamic State group. "I am very concerned with the dramatic escalation and the consequences for the whole region".

Kuwait's ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah, travelled from the UAE to Qatar on Wednesday after visiting Saudi Arabia the day before to try to resolve the crisis. He says Qatar has taken steps to address that concern but must do more.

It wasn't immediately clear how Trump's sharp condemnation might affect USA cooperation with Qatar, which hosts some 10,000 US troops and a major USA air base that serves as a staging ground for operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said that while he was meeting with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia last month and calling for them to unify against extremism, they had "pointed" at Qatar as a terrorism funder.

"No more funding", Trump said.

As Qatar faces diplomatic and trade turmoil, Turkish parliament has approved legislation that will send Turkish troops to one of the country's military bases in Qatar, according to Al Jazeera.

"Intelligence gathered by the USA security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, United States officials say".

"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".

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Maldives severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism and opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.

Qatar has rejected the accusations as "unjustified" and "baseless".

"I myself have to find a third country, a transit point tomorrow", he said. "Iran benefits from any issue or crisis between its neighbors", he said, pointing out that Doha enjoys "fine" relations with Tehran and shares a large gas field.

  • Leroy Wright