Terrorist financing at heart of Qatar crisis, says UAE minister

A Qatar Airways plane is seen in Doha. Reuters  File

"The nation of Qatar, unfortunately has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level", he said, before referencing his meeting with the Arab-Islamic American Summit on May 21, in Saudi Arabia.

Qatar will be motivated to resist by the perception that what the Saudis are really after is regime change, according to Sanam Vakil, associate fellow with the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House in London.

United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said: "We want to make clear that various countries - Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and others - are fed up with Qatar's duplicity, which has been undermining the region".

Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain and Egypt severed relations with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and their arch-adversary Iran - charges Qatar calls baseless. "Such a "Trumpification" of relations in a region already susceptible to crises is particularly risky", Gabriel said.

The visit is part of the Emir's effort to mediate one of the worst Arab rifts in years after the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, among others, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to discuss the situation.

He traveled Wednesday to the United Arab Emirates.

Most importantly, the USA could have been the ideal mediator between Qatar and the other Gulf states.

"Let me say at the outset that we do not think the sanctions against Qatar are good", Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara. It drew some support on Wednesday when Turkey's parliament approved a draft bill allowing its troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar.

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Referring to his trip to the Gulf State, the USA president tweeted on Tuesday: "During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology". Add to this the fact that Qatar maintains excellent political and trade relations with Iran.

In his second intervention in the row in as many days, Trump urged action against terrorism in a call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a White House statement said.

Washington relies closely on the countries on both sides of the dispute for its military operations in the Gulf: Qatar hosts the US Air Force's biggest base in the region, while Bahrain hosts the US Navy.

"But you have to be able to tell your friend or your brother when they are doing the right thing and when they are doing the wrong thing", Jubeir said in a joint press conference with Gabriel.

While a Saudi naval blockade has turned food problems in Yemen into a nascent starvation, a similar problem is virtually impossible in Qatar, the world's richest nation by per-capita GDP, with a fleet of commercial cargo planes that can readily source supplies from anywhere.

Anyone who threatens the interests, national unity and stability of the UAE will face a jail term from three to 15 years and a fine not less than $136,000.

On Saturday, Niger announced it had recalled its ambassador to Qatar in solidarity with Arab countries. The nations have long criticized Qatar's support for Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Numerous others added to the list are figures associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who have made Qatar a base, including Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi.

Riyadh has itself faced accusations of tolerating or even supporting extremists, in particular after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

Al Jazeera said its computer systems had come under attack.

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