UAE turns screw on Qatar, threatens sympathisers with jail

Frederick Owens
June 8, 2017

Six other governments also have suspended diplomatic ties.

UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority ordered all Qatar Airways offices to close in the UAE, the official WAM news agency reported. He met personally with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani. "In all battlefields, there are adversaries", the foreign minister said.

Gabriel's spokesman Martin Schaefer, speaking at the regular government news conference, said that Germany was anxious that the crisis could affect the work of the US -led counter-IS coalition, especially given the USA military's use of an air base in Qatar, but that no impact had been seen so far.

Trump, meanwhile, appeared to take credit for the decision of the countries to cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, putting his stamp of approval on the move despite Pentagon and US State Department attempts to remain neutral.

"This is a very diverse relationship that Qatar has with the UAE and with Saudi and Bahrain - families, business, travel, interests".

Kuwait's emir has also been seeking to mediate, meeting Saudi's king on Tuesday. A spokesperson told VICE News that the agency "does not confirm or deny investigations".

Al Thani told the Daily Beast that Qatari leader Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani "had a good meeting" with Trump during the latter's first trip overseas as President.

His government hopes this "unfortunate phase will be overcome and the crisis will be resolved on solid grounds that guarantee that all Arab states cooperate to build a better future for our people".

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U.S. reports of alleged Russian hackers behind a planted pro-Iranian story on Qatar's news agency website is an attempt to exacerbate tensions between the United States and Russia, the first deputy chairman of the Russian upper house International Affairs Committee told Sputnik.

Those breaking ties with Qatar are the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the Maldives, Mauritania and Libya's eastern-based government.

USA investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar's state news agency and planted a fake report that contributed to the crisis, according to U.S. officials briefed on the investigation.

A Qatari official, however, said the rift was pushing Doha in the direction of leaving the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council, founded in 1981, "with deep regret". In recent months, suspected Russian cyberactivities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries. "United States and the Coalition are grateful to the Qataris for their longstanding support of our presence and their enduring commitment to regional security".

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar's foreign minister, said the measures taken against the country were "surprising", according to the statement, which also cited the minister's interview with the BBC on Tuesday.

Qatar long has denied funding extremists, and its foreign minister has struck a defiant tone in interviews, even after anxious residents emptied grocery stores in its capital of Doha.

While applauding a Kuwaiti effort to mediate the crisis, Gargash said Emirati and Saudi officials planned to concede nothing to Qatar, home to some 10,000 American troops at a major US military base and the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

"But we can not accept that we have a partner sitting with us around the same round table that is undermining our stability and undermining security in the region".

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