Trump speaks to Saudi king as Gulf crisis deepens

Pauline Gross
June 8, 2017

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move on Monday, accusing it of support for Islamist militants and Iran.

The Ministry advises Cypriot nationals "to directly contact airlines or tour operators for further information". Qatar has denied the allegations.

Qatar is home to the forward headquarters of the USA military's Central Command.

According to Jordan's government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani, the Jordanian government has also revoked the license of Al Jazeera, preventing the network from operating in Jordan.

Qatar Airways did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Hours later, Qatar Airways, which flies to nine cities in Saudi Arabia alone, announced it had suspended all flights to Saudi, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

Rift in the Gulf
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the move was rooted in long-standing differences and urged the parties to resolve them. Qatar houses the largest US airbase in the region and has contributed to efforts to roll back Iranian ambitions in Syria.

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Pentagon can't square Trump comments on Qatar
The move came just two weeks after Trump visited Saudi Arabia and vowed to improve ties with both Riyadh and Cairo to combat terrorism and contain Iran.

They have ordered Qatari citizens and diplomats out of their countries, cut all flights to Qatar and are looking for ways to bar worldwide airlines from flying through their airspace to get to Qatar, which is slated to host to 2022 World Cup.

Saudi Arabia has shut the only land border to Qatar, through which the country of 300,000 gets as much as 40% of its food supply, leading to empty shelves in supermarkets and fears that food and water will soon run out.

The Gulf states have also ordered Qataris to leave within 14 days and banned their own citizens from travelling to the emirate. The issue appears to be funding that goes through the country to more mainstream groups like the Brotherhood, and in principle that could be addressed.

"With all due respect, this statement is full of contradictions because it is saying that we are supporting Iran and on the other hand supporting the extremist groups in Syria; and we are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in (Saudi Arabia) or in Yemen and we are supporting the (Iranian-backed) Houthis form the other side". Qatari media had also published a cartoon mocking Saudi King Salman for spreading "fake news".

"Efforts to isolate Qatar. will not solve any problem", he said, praising Doha's "cool-headedness" and "constructive approach".

Other reports by GizPress

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