Published: Tue, June 06, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Qatar says Kuwait trying to mediate diplomatic rift

Qatar says Kuwait trying to mediate diplomatic rift

Today multiple Gulf carriers announced they are suspending services to Qatar amidst a growing dispute between Qatar's government and several Arab countries on terrorism concerns in the region.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and the Maldives severed ties with Qatar on Monday over accusations it supported extremism.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has spoken by phone with the leaders of Qatar, Russia, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on lowering tension, presidential sources said, after Arab powers cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants. "Saudi Arabia and its allies will not accept any solution short of (Qatari) capitulation", political risk consultancy Eurasia Group said in a note.

Many Gulf airports, including in Qatar, are major hubs for global connecting flights. FILE - In this May 21, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, holds a bilateral meeting with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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But Qatar's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, told broadcaster Al Jazeera the country would "still have access to the world through worldwide sea lanes and global airspace".

The diplomatic broadside threatens the global prestige of Qatar, home to a large United States military base and set to host the 2022 World Cup.

Arab nations broke ties with Doha after Riyadh accused it of supporting groups, including some backed by Iran, "that aim to destabilise the region".

Qatar long has denied funding extremists, though Western officials have accused it of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists like al-Qaida's branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front.

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News of the closures sparked panic-buying in Qatar, which relies heavily on imports for food and other products.

The nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic. FlightRadar24, a popular airplane tracking website, said Qatar Airway flights already had started to be affected. That is also an important route for construction materials - needed for the energy industry and for the preparations for the 2022 football world cup.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation, said on its state news agency that Qatar's policy "threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation". "Flights to Europe will most likely be rerouted through Iran and Turkey".

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