Russia's Lavrov calls for talks to ease Qatar stand-off

But Western diplomats accuse the country of allowing or even encouraging the funding of some Sunni extremists.

The gas-rich emirate is home to the largest U.S. airbase in the Middle East, making it a key ally in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The neighbours also resent Qatar's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood movement and its sponsorship of the pan-Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera, which has given opposition figures a platform.

He echoed an allegation the Saudi-led group has used to justify cutting diplomatic ties to the tiny gas-rich country.

"The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level".

Less than two hours earlier, Tillerson had approached the crisis from a different direction - warning that the stand-off between the former Gulf allies was undermining the anti-terror fight.

In doing so, the President's tone, if not his message, clashed with his most senior national security officials, highlighting the often mixed messages emerging from his administration since the Qatar crisis began Tuesday.

"The emir of Qatar has made progress in halting financial support and expelling terrorists from his country, but he must do more and he must do it more quickly", he said.

In response to #45's tweet arguing that diplomatically cutting off Qatar, home to the largest USA military base in the Arab region, will help bring an "end to the horror of terrorism", the secretary of state told The New York Times he hopes for a "a calm and thoughtful dialogue" to resolve the Gulf conflict.

"Regular supplies are moving into the base there via air", said US Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

"There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade". He said families were being separated, children removed from school and Qataris forced to deal with food shortages. "But they can be addressed immediately".

It is also impairing US business activities in the region and bringing about humanitarian consequences, he said.

The tough United States line was a rebuff for Qatar's efforts to reach out for support from overseas.

"We have observed with concern the news of this escalation", Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in opening remarks of his meeting with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Moscow.

Numerous others added to the list are figures associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who have made Qatar a base, including Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi. A statement from Egypt's presidency said President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Trump spoke by phone on Friday and that el-Sissi thanked him for his role in "the formation of a united front to combat terrorism". And the important thing, we believe, is that for the states of the region as well as outside the region, the main threat today is terrorism.

Cavusoglu added that a 2014 agreement with Qatar to set up a Turkish military base there is created to support the security of the entire region. "I'm sorry, we will continue to give Qatar every kind of support", he said.

Qatar ally Turkey meanwhile hosted the Bahraini foreign minister for talks on the crisis.

The United Arab Emirates said on Friday that Qatar must acknowledge concerns about its "troubling support for extremism" and "re-examine its regional policies". "People from across the region - not only from Qatar, but also from the states implementing these measures - risk losing jobs and having their education disrupted", said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Global Issues Programme, who was in Doha last week.

Qatar's neighbours have also criticised it for allegedly supporting groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

  • Zachary Reyes