UAE turns screws on Qatar

President Donald Trump spoke to Qatar's emir on Wednesday, offering U.S. mediation in a crisis that has split Washington's allies and pushed regional powers toward confrontation.

Trump urged more than 50 Muslim leaders at the gathering to "drive out" terrorists from their lands, which Gulf officials say helped embolden the move against Qatar this week.

CNN reported on Tuesday that USA intelligence officials believe Russian hackers planted a false news story that led Saudi Arabia and several allies to sever relations with Qatar. Though Trump again said countries must eliminate funding streams for terror groups, the White House said he focused on the need for the region's various USA allies to stick together.

Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar was committed to solving the issue via a dialogue and that he considered the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf as the most appropriate format for such talks.

The West African nations of Senegal and Mauritania have joined have severed their diplomatic relations with Qatar in expression of solidarity with the four Gulf countries that cut ties.

But he also said measures taken against Qatar this week by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Arab nations were not aimed at seeking new leadership in Doha.

Kuwait's Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah was met planeside by Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, when he arrived on Wednesday night.

The United States, France and Russian Federation have called for dialogue while Turkey has defended Qatar and said it would further "develop" ties with Doha.

The Gulf crisis has sparked fears of military escalation in an already volatile region.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir delivers a statement after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department in Washington, February 8, 2016.

Foreigners residing in Qatar and in possession of a Qatari residence visa would also not be eligible for visa on arrival in the UAE, Etihad spokesman said in an email.

S&P cut its long-term rating of Qatar by one notch to AA- from AA and put the rating on CreditWatch with negative implications, meaning there was a significant chance of a further downgrade.

The dispute was also prompted in part by claims that Qatar was trying to undermine neighboring governments by giving financial support to opposition movements and using its flagship television channel Al Jazeera as a mouthpiece to attack them.

Speaking to the AP from a Foreign Ministry office in Dubai, Gargash listed a number of terror groups he alleged Qatar had funded, including al-Qaida's branches in Syria and Somalia, militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and other group's with "al-Qaida-type organizations" in Libya.

  • Zachary Reyes