Russian Federation calls for dialogue in Qatar crisis

Frederick Owens
June 11, 2017

The four Arab states affirmed "working together with partners" around the world towards finding solutions to countering terrorist organizations and extremist groups, expressing unity in their ongoing commitment to combat terrorism, drying up its funding, countering extremist ideology and the ways of its promotion, according to the statement.

In severing diplomatic ties with its Gulf neighbour on Monday, Riyadh accused Qatar of supporting groups including some backed by Iran. In an apparent escalation of the crisis, staff at Al Jazeera, Qatar's influential satellite television news channel which often infuriates the rulers of the Arab world, said on Thursday its computer systems were under cyber attack. Trump initially took sides in tweets with the Saudi-led group, before apparently being nudged into a more even-handed approach when USA defence officials renewed praise of Qatar where their base is located.

Saudi Arabia and allies, which have cut ties with Doha, on Friday issued a list of individuals and entities they say are linked to Qatar over "terrorism".

The ostracism of Qatar by other powerful Arab states is deepening divisions between their respective allies vying for influence in wars and political struggles from Libya to Yemen.

BERLIN: A German government spokesman on Friday urged Iran to avoid any actions that could further exacerbate tensions in the Gulf after key Arab states cut off ties with Qatar, and underscored Germany's opposition to any state funding of militant groups.

Anxious residents have responded to the crisis by emptying grocery stores in the capital of Doha, and Saudi Arabia has blocked trucks carrying food from entering the country across its only land border.

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Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani told a news conference in Doha on Thursday that Qatar was facing isolation due to its success and progress, adding that his country was an environment for peace and not for terrorism. They have imposed what Qatar says is a blockade of shipping and air traffic, and closed Qatar's only land border, causing panic buying at supermarkets.

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. "There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade".

"The blockade is hindering U.S. military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS", Tillerson warned. We are seeing shortages of food. Despite Tillerson's assessment that the fight against ISIS had been impacted, Pentagon officials said there has been no immediate disruption. The Arab states have also ordered Qataris out within 14 days.

Analysts say the crisis is partly an extension of a 2014 dispute, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain temporarily recalled their ambassadors over Qatari support for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

Doha has for years forged its own alliances in the region, often diverging from the politics of the six-state GCC and taking in leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Hamas and members of the Afghan Taliban.

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