Qatar rejects as baseless terrorism blacklist by four Arab states, including Egypt

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain announced on Monday they were cutting diplomatic ties and closing all connectivity links with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Saudi Arabia and the other nations cited Qatar's relations with Iran, as well as what they say is Qatar's support for extremist groups such as Hamas, al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Our expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to de-escalate the situation and put forth a good faith effort to resolve their grievances they have with each other", Tillerson said.

This was Trump's longest explanation of his stance on the diplomatic freeze-out of Qatar, clarifying an initial picture given by a series of tweets earlier in the week that seemed to indicate support of the decision to isolate the nation. Trump says he consulted with Saudi Arabia and others on a recent trip to Riyadh, and chose to call out Qatar for its "very high level" of terror financing.

Addressing a White House news conference, the president said Qatar had "historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level".

Tillerson said the blockade was causing "unintended" humanitarian and business consequences and was "hindering USA military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS", or the Islamic State terrorist group.

"I decided with Rex Tillerson that the time had come to call on Qatar to end funding and extremist ideology in terms of funding", he said.

"We call on Qatar to be responsive to the concerns of its neighbors", he said. On Monday, regional giant Saudi Arabia abruptly chose to sever all diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar over its relations with another regional giant, Iran, and its alleged funding of extremist groups.

Qatar is home to a vital U.S. military base.

The moves taken against Doha include banning Qatar Airways from airspace and closing Qatar's only land border with Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain's foreign minister, keeping up the pressure on Qatar in a deepening Arab row, reiterated on Thursday a demand that Doha distance itself from Iran and stop support for "terrorist organisations". I'm sorry, we will continue to give Qatar every kind of support.

In a rare public statement, Tillerson appealed to the Middle Eastern and North African governments behind the blockade of Qatar.

Those comments stood in contrast to the more nuanced, de-escalatory comments of Tillerson, who was also in the Rose Garden during Trump's remarks.

US and European officials said that while United States government agencies and experts were convinced that the news agency and the Qatari government's Twitter feed were hacked, they have not yet determined who did the hacking.

  • Joanne Flowers