World

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain welcome Donald Trump's scolding of Qatar

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain welcome Donald Trump's scolding of Qatar

"We had a decision to make: do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard but necessary action?"

A move by four Arab states to blacklist dozens of figures with alleged links to Qatar could squeeze liquidity at Qatari banks which get a significant amount of their funding from the region.

Trump said "Nations came together and spoke to me about confronting Qatar over its behavior".

The crisis is a major diplomatic test for the United States, which is a close ally of countries on both sides.

The conflicting signals suggested Tillerson was playing "good cop" to Trump's tougher-talking "bad cop".

He said: "The next step is for Qatar to acknowledge these concerns and commit to re-examine its regional policies".

"We are maintaining contacts with the majority of the participants of the ongoing processes", he said, a reference to the various channels of communication throughout the region. Davis said the diplomatic rift has not interrupted or curtailed operations at al-Udeid air base, a launching pad for US military efforts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Qatar is home to a vital USA military base.

"We don't see a military solution as an option", he said, adding that Qatar would not shut down its Al Jazeera news network.




Kuwait's ruling emir has shuttled between countries trying to mediate an end to the crisis.

Qatari chain supermarkets announced on social media that daily food products from Turkey such as milk, yoghurt, and chicken were now being sold in stores. Qatar's neighbors have also criticized Qatar for allegedly supporting groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

But Tillerson also noted that other countries must do more - and he urged Riyadh and its allies to soften their embargo.

The diplomatic crisis, the worst since the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and the subsequent Gulf War, has seen Arab nations and others cut ties to Qatar, which hosts a major US military base and will be the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They had already earlier in the week blocked direct flights between their countries and Qatar.

Qatar denies it has backed extremist groups and says the allegations are based on fabricated news and politically motivated. "But it does not give us joy when relations between our partners deteriorate", Lavrov told Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani at talks in Moscow.

After German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the situation "very unsettling" on Friday, her foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, cautioned on Saturday that it could lead to war.

"Along with our American colleagues but above all our colleagues in the region, we must try to find solutions, especially lifting the sea and air blockades", Gabriel told reporters.

"No one has the right to intervene in our foreign policy".

Meanwhile, a statement from European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc was calling on all sides to "avoid any further escalation and engage in a political dialogue".


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