Trump speaks to Qatar emir, offers help in resolving crisis - White House

The news of Qatar's ransom comes after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and a powerful military leader in Libya all severed ties with Doha.

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

- UAE's national postal service suspends all services to Qatar. In a preliminary report published late on Wednesday, the investigators did not say who they held responsible for the hack but said that both Britain and the United States were helping with their inquiry. Do you think Iran will form a similar axis with Qatar, Russia, Syria, and other regional allies to counter this Saudi-led initiative?

- Turkey's parliament approves two deals on Wednesday: on deploying troops in Qatar and on training the Gulf nation's gendarmarie forces.

"The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level", Trump said at a White House Rose Garden press conference.

"We're still operating without impact", Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters.

Four Arab countries which cut ties with Qatar this week over its alleged support of terrorism on Friday designated dozens of people with alleged links to Qatar as terrorists, intensifying a row that threatens the region's stability.

A statement said the list shows that Qatar "announces fighting terrorism on one hand and finances and supports and hosts different terrorist organisations on the other hand".

Qatar is home to the largest USA airbase in the Middle East, making it a key ally in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

President Donald Trump called Qatar's Emir on Wednesday (June 7) and offered United States help as efforts grew to resolve a damaging feud between the emirate and its Gulf neighbours.

- Abu Dhabi port eases restrictions on oil tankers going to and from Qatar.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry also said that the arrival of Turkish forces, an existing agreement brought forward this week as a result of the crisis, would benefit the security of the whole region, adding that it expected no change in the mandate of the U.S. military base in the country.

It said hackers installed a file and then published a fake news item attributed to Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, just after midnight May 24.

The biggest U.S. air base in West Asia is in Qatar and around 10,000 personnel work there in support of several allied operations in Iraq, Syria, and around the region.

"There are numerous uncertainties regarding Qatar's response, the extent to which these measures will be imposed, and their longevity", said the ratings agency. "The emir of Qatar has made progress in halting financial support and expelling terrorist elements from his country, but he must do more and he must do it more quickly". Another official says more curbs on business remain on the table in this dispute.

- The UAE banned people from publishing expressions of sympathy towards Qatar and will punish offenders with 15 years in jail, the UAE-based newspaper Gulf News and pan-Arab channel Al Arabiya reported early on Wednesday.

"We had a decision to make", Trump said, describing conversations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

Qatar has backed Islamist movements but strongly denies supporting terrorism.

It said that Trump, in a later call with Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, called for unity among Gulf Arabs "but never at the expense of eliminating funding for radical extremism or defeating terrorism".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Sheikh al-Thani of Moscow's concern and called for talks. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said isolating Qatar would not resolve any problems. "There are other countries in the region that grapple with the same issues".

He also thanked Saudi Arabia and King Salman for participating in the summit.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also reached out to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran in a bid to kick off negotiations.

The factors behind this crisis go back many years and stem primarily from Saudi Arabia's frustration with Qatar's Emirs, who fail to fall into lock-step with whatever Saudi Arabia wants for the region. Aircraft that fly out of Qatar - including fighter jets, drones and refueling planes - can be relocated to a number of other bases in the region including in Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait and Bahrain and off aircraft carriers, the officials said.

  • Larry Hoffman