Mediator Says Qatar Ready to Understand Gulf Neighbors' Concerns

Qatar's government "also continues to support terrorist organization in Libya, Syria and Yemen and Sinai".

"No one has the right to intervene in our foreign policy", Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said.

Friday's spat is unlikely to ease regional tensions in a spiralling political crisis which also threatens to involve the US, Russia, Europe and other major players such as Turkey, a close ally of Qatar, and Iran.

Shortly after imposing a naval blockade in the immediate aftermath of the Qatar diplomatic crisis, one which left the small Gulf nation not only politically isolated and with severed ties to its neighbors but potentially locked out of maritime trade and crippling its oil and LNG exports, on Tuesday SkyNews Arabia reported that Saudi Arabia has given Qatar a 24 hours ultimatum, starting tonight, to fulfill 10 conditions that have been conveyed to Kuwait, which is now involved in the role of a mediator between Saudi and Qatar.

Responding to the list overnight, Qatar issued a statement saying: "We do not, have not and will not support terrorist groups".

Qatar hosts the Al-Udeid military base, the largest USA airbase in the Middle East that is central to the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile, Qatar's Al Jazeera network said it was suffering a cyber-attack.

Two weeks after an alleged cyber attack on Qatar's state news agency resulted in the publishing of a fake news story, the Qatari-funded broadcasting company Al-Jazeera claims that the company's "websites and digital platforms" are being targeted in "systematic and continual hacking attempts."

Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to "ease the blockade" against Qatar.

They also banned Qatar Airways from their airspace and closed Qatar's only land border with Saudi Arabia, moves Doha's foreign minister termed a "blockade".

The feud has raised fears of wider instability in an already volatile region that is a crucial global energy supplier and home to several Western military bases.

Qatar, a small peninsular nation of 2.5 million people, was importing 80 per cent of its food requirements from bigger Gulf Arab neighbours before they cut ties with it.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister flew to Oman for talks but officials did not elaborate.

US President Donald Trump accused Qatar of funding terrorism and asked Doha "it must stop". Only Kuwait hosts a stronger USA military presence in the Middle East.

President Trump came out swinging against Qatar during a Rose Garden press conference today after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier urged easing of the blockade against the Gulf nation and the Pentagon said the rift was negatively impacting US military operations. On Wednesday, Emirati officials shut down the airline's offices in the UAE.

  • Leroy Wright