Amid diplomatic crisis, US Ambassador to Qatar to step down

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin just days after Qatar's foreign minister was in Moscow to discuss the crisis in Gulf ties.

After cutting ties with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain also ordered Qatari residents out though on Sunday, officials said there would be exceptions for mixed-nationality families.

The intervention from the head of the UN's rights body came as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was sending his top diplomat to Qatar on Wednesday in a bid to broker an end to what he has called the inhumane behaviour of neighbouring Gulf States in severing ties with Doha and imposing sanctions.

"I have spoken and seen (US Defense Secretary) General (Jim) Mattis four times in the last week, we've given them our complete assurance that the steps we have taken will not affect in anyway Al Udeid base or any operations supporting or regarding the base", Otaiba said.

The Arab nations cite "terrorism and extremism" as the reason behind cutting off Qatar, all allegations Qatar denies. "Tehran is willing to have closer cooperation with the country in order to see stability and security established there", Zarif said. He says Saudi Arabia has allowed families to move between countries.

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber Al Sabah, who has been leading the diplomatic initiative, vowed to continue his efforts to resolve the ongoing crisis despite remaining unsuccessful in his earlier bid.

On Monday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress that funding of any kind of terrorist group "is inimical to all of our interest", also stating that Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani has inherited a hard, very tough situation, and "he's trying to turn the society in the right direction".

He said that Qatar has "practically been sentenced to the death penalty" and added that "it is neither humane nor Islamic to attempt to isolate a country's people in every area from food, to drink, to travel, to commerce, to worship".

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed hopes for a swift resolution of the crisis engulfing the energy-rich nation of Qatar.

  • Leroy Wright