Posts Tagged ‘Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani’

Iran’s Javad Zarif and Sheikh Tamim hold talks in Doha

October 4, 2017

Al Jazeera

Foreign minister’s visit comes after restoration of full diplomatic ties with Qatar and against backdrop of GCC crisis.

The visit is Zarif’s first to Doha since Saudi bloc imposed a land, air and sea blockade [Reuters]

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, has met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani for talks on relations and strengthening “cooperation” between the two countries after almost four months of a blockade against Qatar.

The visit is Zarif’s first to Doha since four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt – cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on 5 June and imposed a land, air and sea blockade.

“During the meeting, they reviewed relations of cooperation between the two countries in various fields as well as exchanged views on the current situation in the region,” a statement from Qatar News Agency said, referring to Tuesday’s talks.

Zarif’s trip comes after Qatar restored full diplomatic relations with Iran in August.


READ MORE: Qatar-Gulf rift – The Iran factor


In January 2016, Qatar had pulled its ambassador from Tehran over attacks on Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic mission there, after the kingdom executed a Shia religious scholar.

Iranian state media published images of Zarif at the Doha meeting and quoted him as saying: “None of the regional crises have a military solution.”

All sides should “give priority to regional initiations for restoring collective stability and security”.

Zarif on Monday met Omani officials, including Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has ruled Oman since 1970 and has served as an interlocutor between the West and Iran.

Kuwait has tried unsuccessfully to mediate the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis, as has the US, which has a major military base in Qatar.

On June 22, the Saudi bloc issued a 13-point list of demands, including the shutdown of Al Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country, as a prerequisite to lift the sanctions.

The quartet accuses Qatar of supporting “extremism” and fostering ties with Iran. Qatar has rejected the allegations as well as the demands, and the quartet now consider the list “null and void”.

Survey on Iran

Against this backdrop, a new academic survey published this week suggests that the average citizens in the Arab members of the GCC do not see Iran as an existential threat in the same way some of their leaders do.

Face-to-face surveys of over 4,000 GCC citizens conducted in recent months found that with the exception of Bahrain, the spread of violent organisations like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group represented their biggest worry, said Justin Gengler, a senior researcher at the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute at Qatar University.

READ MORE: Qatar-GCC crisis: All the latest updates

Gengler said the survey, funded by the Qatar National Research Fund before the Gulf crisis began and conducted along with researchers from the University of Michigan, was conducted in every GCC country except the UAE.

Gengler first published his results on Monday in the prestigious Foreign Affairsmagazine. The margin of error was below four percent among the surveys in each country.

Asked about the results, Gengler told the Associated Press news agency, Iran offered a convenient foe for Arab Gulf states struggling with internal problems and low global oil prices.

Political differences

Leaders in the Arab Gulf countries, those in Saudi Arabia and the UAE especially, view Iran with suspicion after its recent advances on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria.

They also worry about Iran’s nuclear programme and the 2015 deal that Iran struck with world powers over it.

Late last month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister, said the quartet’s blockade was pushing Qatar into closer economic ties with Iran despite political differences.

“They said Qatar was now closer to Iran. By their measures they are pushing Qatar to Iran,” he said in comments in Paris.

“Is that their objective, to push one country, a GCC member state towards Iran? This is not a wise objective.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Defiant Qatar emir meets Iran’s Zarif

October 3, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (seen here) and Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif met at a time of heightened Gulf tensions, with Qatari officials warning the ongoing Arab blockade would only drive Doha towards regional powerhouse Iran

DOHA (AFP) – Iran’s foreign minister held talks with the emir of Qatar Tuesday aimed at strengthening “co-operation,” nearly four months into a Saudi-led blockade against the Gulf emirate.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif met at a time of heightened Gulf tensions, with Qatari officials warning the ongoing Arab blockade would only drive Doha towards regional powerhouse Iran.

Qatar’s state news agency said the pair discussed the impasse in the region, which has seen Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Doha over its ties with Iran and accusations that it supports extremists.

“During the meeting, they reviewed relations of cooperation between the two countries in various fields as well as exchanged views on the current situation in the region,” read the statement from Qatar News Agency.

Tuesday’s visit was notable as it was Zarif’s first since Qatar’s political isolation began on June 5. The Iranian foreign minister on Monday visited Oman — which has remained neutral on the Gulf crisis — meeting with Sultan Qaboos in Muscat.

Qatar’s relationship with Shiite-dominated Iran, seen as the major rival to Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, is one of the major factors underpinning the crisis between Qatar and its former allies.

Last week, Qatar’s foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani warned that the political and economic boycott imposed on Qatar was pushing Doha closer to Tehran.

“They accuse Qatar of being close to Iran but with their measure… they push Qatar towards Iran. They are giving Qatar like a gift to Iran,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a speech in Paris.

Doha in January 2016 had pulled its ambassador from Tehran in solidarity with Saudi Arabia over attacks on its diplomatic mission there — attacks spurred by Riyadh’s decision to execute a prominent Shiite cleric in the kingdom.

But in August, Qatar announced it was restoring full diplomatic relations with Iran by returning its ambassador.

Qatar and Iran share the world’s largest natural gas field —  which Doha calls the North Field and Iran South Pars — and which has been responsible for the emirate’s dramatic transformation over the past 20 years.

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Qatar and Russia to bolster economic ties — Qatar Officially Part of The Russia, China, Iran Alliance

August 30, 2017

Two of the world’s largest energy producers have vowed to increase trade relations. Qatar is under pressure amid an economic boycott by neighboring Gulf states over its alleged support of terrorism.

Katar Doha - Sergey Lavrov und Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (Reuters/N. Zeitoon)

Qatar and Russia announced the new agreement, which will see closer trade ties, during a visit by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the Gulf Nation on Wednesday.

Lavrov made the commitment after a meeting in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

The Russian foreign minister told reporters that Moscow “attached great importance” to economic and energy cooperation between the two countries.

Sheikh Mohammed, for his part, said Qatar could no longer rely on neighboring states to support its economy or guarantee food security.

The two nations are among the world’s top oil and gas producing countries.

Last year, Qatar bought a stake worth billions in Russia’s state-controlled oil company, Rosneft.

Read more – What is the Qatar crisis?

Qatar is looking to expand its economic relations after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirate severed diplomatic and trade ties with the Gulf nation in June.

The Arab countries accused Qatar of destabilizing the region by supporting “terrorists,” a charge dismissed by Doha.

The diplomatic rift, aimed at isolating Qatar, has disrupted supply chains and affected flow of goods into the tiny emirate.

Read – Qatar resumes full diplomatic ties with Iran

‘Arab allies not willing to negotiate’

With no signs of tensions easing, Sheikh Mohammed said his country was willing to negotiate an end to the diplomatic crisis, but had seen no sign that Saudi Arabia and its allies were open to mediation.

“Qatar maintains its position that this crisis can only be achieved through a constructive dialogue … but the blockading counties are not responding to any efforts being conducted by Kuwait or other friendly countries,” the Qatari Foreign Minister told reporters at a news conference with his Russian counterpart.

Lavrov – who has also visited Kuwait and the UAE as part of his Middle East tour – called for all parties to find a solution.

Read – Beyond Libya: Russia’s strategy in the Middle East

He said if face-to-face negotiations started, Russia would be ready to contribute to the mediation.

“It’s in our interests for the GCC to be united and strong,” the Russian top diplomat said, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Russia has long sought to establish itself as a major player in the region’s affairs, most notably in Syria’s six-year civil war, where it backs President Bashar al-Assad.

ap/kms (AFP, Reuters)

 http://www.dw.com/en/qatar-and-russia-to-bolster-economic-ties/a-40299911
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Fatemeh Bahrami | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A Iranian woman walks past a wall painting in the shape of Iranian flag in Tehran, Iran on the first anniversary of nuclear deal between Iran and world powers on January 16, 2017.
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Iran has boasted about its ballistic missiles, many of which are on mobile launchers

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© Saudi Royal Palace/AFP/File / by Ali Choukeir | A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on July 30, 2017 shows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) receiving prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Jeddah

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Qatar Foreign Minister Talks With Iran’s FM — Part of Qatar’s restoration of diplomatic relations with Iran

August 24, 2017

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Latest on Qatar’s restoration of diplomatic relations with Iran (all times local):

9:50 a.m.

Qatar says its foreign minister spoke with Iran’s foreign minister just before announcing its ambassador would return to Tehran.

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry in a statement said that Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani spoke by phone to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.

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Mohammed Javad Zarif

The ministry’s statement said the two “discussed bilateral relations and means of boosting and developing them, as well as a number of issues of common concern.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately acknowledge the telephone call.

Qatar had pulled its ambassador in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran. The decision to return the ambassador comes amid a diplomatic dispute between Qatar and other Arab nations.

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7:20 a.m.

Qatar has restored full diplomatic relations with Iran, ignoring the demands of Arab nations now trying to isolate the energy-rich country to downgrade its ties.

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry announced early Thursday that the country’s ambassador would return to Tehran. Qatar pulled its ambassador in early 2016 after Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric sparked attacks on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran.

Qatar said in a statement that the move “expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields.” Iranian state media acknowledged the development, without elaborating.

Qatar and Iran share a massive offshore natural gas field that requires communication between the two countries. Since the diplomatic dispute with Arab nations began in June, Iran has sent food shipments to Qatar.

Qatar accuses Gulf states of ‘stubbornness’, wants UN to help

July 27, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | A general view of the road near the Qatari side of the Abu Samrah border crossing with Saudi Arabia on June 23, 2017

UNITED NATIONS (UNITED STATES) (AFP) – Qatar’s foreign minister on Thursday accused Gulf neighbors and Egypt of “stubbornness” in their ongoing diplomatic dispute and said the United Nations should step in to help resolve the crisis.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York to discuss tensions after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5.

The four countries accuse Qatar of backing extremism and have imposed sanctions against Doha in what the foreign minister said was a “serious violation of international law.”

“There is a role for the Security Council and for the General Assembly and all the United Nations mechanisms, because of course the violations have continued,” the foreign minister told reporters after his meeting with Guterres.

“We are seeing from the other side of the conflict this stubbornness without even taking any forthcoming step to solve this problem,” he said.

Last month Al-Thani met with several Security Council members to lobby for support, but the council and Guterres have repeatedly stressed that a solution should be found among regional partners.

Kuwait has been trying to mediate the crisis and several top Western diplomats have toured the region to try to defuse the row, including US Secretary of States Rex Tillerson.

“This is the right place where we have to start to seek all our options in order to find a legal solution,” said the foreign minister.

“Qatar has already stated more than ten times that we want to solve this issue by dialogue, and we are not willing to escalate, and they need to retreat from all their illegal actions,” he said.

The crisis between the regional allies is the worst to hit the Gulf in decades.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia and its allies unveiled a “terrorist” blacklist of 18 organizations and individuals suspected of links to Islamist extremism tied to Qatar.

The countries have demanded that Qatar break its longstanding ties with the Muslim Brotherhood — blacklisted as a terror group by the four governments, although not by the international community.

They also demanded that it close broadcasting giant Al-Jazeera and a Turkish military base, and fall in line with Saudi-led policy in the region, particularly towards Iran.

Qatar has dismissed the demands as a violation of its sovereignty and has received significant support from its ally Turkey.

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France calls for lifting of sanctions on Qatar citizens

July 15, 2017

French Foreign Minister says his country is “very concerned by the sudden deterioration” of the situation in the Gulf.

France has called for a swift lifting of sanctions that target Qatari nationals in an effort to ease a month-long rift between the Gulf country and a Saudi Arabia-led group.

In his visit to the Qatari capital Doha on Saturday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said his country is “very concerned by the sudden deterioration” of the situation in the region.

“France calls for the lifting, as soon as possible, of the measures that affect the populations in particular, bi-national families that have been separated or students,” Le Drian told reporters in Doha, after he met his counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

READ MORE: The turning point of the GCC crisis

Le Drian also met with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, following the steps of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was in the Gulf this week to help to find a solution the regional impasse.

He is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia later on Saturday and will visit Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

“France should be a facilitator in the mediation” led by Kuwait, Le Drian told reporters.

Kuwait is trying to mediate the dispute.

“France is talking to all these countries to help in the search for a solution,” he said, calling for “dialogue and calm” between the Arab states concerned.

Le Drian also said France counted on “reinforcing cooperation with Qatar in the fight against terrorism, particularly in combating terrorism financing”.

‘Political, intellectual terrorism’

For his part, Sheikh Mohammed said that the actions taken by Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar are disrupting the regional effort to combat terrorism.

“Combating terrorism also cannot be through practising political and intellectual terrorism against a state,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Aside from France, officials from Britain and Germany also visited the region in recent weeks.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Samer Shehata of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, however, said that while France’s voice lends more support for Qatar, it does “not have a tremendous amount” of influence in the crisis.

“The United States has the most pressure it can potentially exert on the parties involved, particularly the Saudis and the Emiratis,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing armed groups and allying with Saudi Arabia’s regional ally, Iran — allegations that Doha denied.

On June 22, the Saudi-led group issued a 13-point list of demands, including the shutdown of Al Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country, as a prerequisite to lift the sanctions.

Doha rejected the demands and the countries now consider the list “null and void”.

On July 11, US and Qatar signed an agreement to help combat “terrorism financing”. But the Saudi-led group called it “insufficient”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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France Urges Qatar, Arab Neighbors to Resolve Diplomatic Standoff

July 15, 2017 9:06 AM
  • VOA News
French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian is seen at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 3, 2017. Le Drian met Saturday in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian is seen at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 3, 2017. Le Drian met Saturday in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

France’s foreign minister has expressed concern about the deterioration of relations between Qatar and its Arab neighbors and urged all sides to find a way to end the diplomatic standoff.

Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke to reporters after talks with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, in Doha on Saturday.

A group of nations that includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accuses Qatar of supporting terrorism and has given Doha a 13-point list of demands after severing diplomatic ties in early June.

Qatar has said it is willing to negotiate but will not give up its sovereignty.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited the region earlier this week but left with little apparent progress in resolving the standoff.

https://www.voanews.com/a/france-qatar/3945483.html

Gulf Crisis Should Be Resolved Through Dialogue,’ Not Blockade’: Qatari FM

July 5, 2017

LONDON — Qatar’s foreign minister said on Wednesday his country welcomed any serious effort to solve the crisis with its Arab neighbours through dialogue “not blockade”.

Speaking at the Chatham House international affairs think-tank, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani also said that what he described as the siege by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab emirates, Bahrain and Egypt was a “clear aggression and an insult”.

(Reporting by Sylvia westall and Noah Browning, writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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Saudi, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt cut ties with Qatar over Iran, “terrorism” (File photo)

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Gulf deadline to resolve Qatar rift approaches

July 2, 2017
Reuters

Buildings are seen on a coast line in Doha, Qatar June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer
By Sylvia Westall | DUBAI

Qatar faces possible further sanctions by Arab states that have severed ties with Doha over allegations of links to terrorism, as a deadline to accept a series of demands is expected to expire on Sunday night with no signs of the crisis ending.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the demands were made to be rejected, adding that the Arab ultimatum was aimed not at tackling terrorism but at curtailing his country’s sovereignty.

But he told reporters in Rome that Doha remained ready to sit down and discuss the grievances raised by its Arab neighbors.

“This list of demands is made to be rejected. It’s not meant to be accepted or …to be negotiated,” Sheikh Mohammed said in Rome. “The state of Qatar instead of rejecting it as a principle, we are willing to engage in (dialogue), providing the proper conditions for further dialogue.”

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani attends a news conference in Rome, Italy, July 1, 2017.REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

He added that no one had the right to issue an ultimatum to a sovereign country.

The feud erupted last month when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being an ally of regional foe Iran, charges which Doha denies.

The countries have threatened further sanctions against Qatar if it does not comply with their list of 13 demands which were presented to Doha by Kuwaiti mediators 10 days ago.

The demands include closing a Turkish military base in Qatar and shutting down the Al Jazeera pan-Arab television network, which Doha also rejected.

Qatar’s Gulf critics accuse Al Jazeera of being a platform for extremists and an agent of interference in their affairs. The network has rejected the accusations and said it will maintain its editorial independence.

FRESH PENALTIES

Gulf countries have insisted the demands were not negotiable.

The UAE ambassador to Russia has said Qatar could face fresh sanctions if it does not comply with the demands.

Gulf states could ask their trading partners to choose between working with them or with Doha, he said in a newspaper interview last week.

But UAE foreign affairs minister Anwar Gargash played down the chances of an escalation, saying “The alternative is not escalation but parting ways”, suggesting Qatar may be forced out of the six-member alliance.

The Western-backed body was formed in 1981 in the wake of Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

Speaking in Washington last week, the Qatari foreign minister said the GCC was set up to guard against external threats.

“When the threat is coming from inside the GCC, there is a suspicion about the sustainability of the organization,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters.

The crisis has hit travel, food imports and ratcheted up tensions in the Gulf and sown confusion among businesses, while pushing Qatar closer to Iran and Turkey.

But it has not hit energy exports from Qatar, which is the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and home to the region’s biggest U.S. military base.

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The rift opened days after U.S. President Donald Trump met with Arab leaders in Riyadh and called for unity against regional threats such as Iran and hardline Islamist militant groups.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall and Philip Pullella; editing by Sami Aboudi and Stephen Powell)

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Qatar Says Won’t Negotiate Until Economic Boycott Ends

June 19, 2017

DOHA — Qatar will not negotiate with Arab states that have cut economic and travel ties with it unless they reverse their measures, its foreign minister said, ruling out discussions over Qatar’s internal affairs including Al Jazeera TV.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Qatar had still not received any demands from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which severed relations two weeks ago, triggering the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years.

Image result for Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, photos

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahmanal-Thani

The countries accuse Qatar of supporting Islamist militants and stirring up unrest, charges Doha denies.

“Qatar is under blockade, there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade to start negotiations,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters in Doha. “Until now we didn’t see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the precondition for anything to move forward.”

He said Kuwait’s ruler was the sole mediator in the crisis and that he was waiting for specific demands from Gulf states in order to take resolution efforts forward.

“We cannot just have (vague) demands such as ‘the Qataris know what we want from them, they have to stop this or that, they have to be monitored by a foreign monitoring mechanism,'” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Anything that relates to the affairs of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council is subject to negotiation, he said, referring to the body comprising Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

“Anything not related to them is not subject to negotiation. No one has the right to interfere in my affairs. Al Jazeera is Qatar’s affairs, Qatari foreign policy on regional issues is Qatar’s affairs. And we are not going to negotiate on our own affairs,” he said.

Qatar’s Gulf critics have accused Al Jazeera of being a platform for extremists and an agent of interference in their affairs. The network has rejected those accusations and said it will maintain its editorial independence.

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The crisis has hit civilian travel, some food imports, ratcheted up tensions in the Gulf and sown confusion among businesses. But it has not affected energy exports from Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar would rely on other states if the boycott continued, including Saudi Arabia’s arch regional foe Iran.

“We have a back-up plan which depends mainly on Turkey, Kuwait and Oman,” he said. “Iran has facilitated for us the sky passages for our aviation and we are cooperating with all countries that can ensure supplies for Qatar.”

(Reporting by Tom Finn; writing by Sylvia Westall; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Qatar seeks Kuwaiti mediation after powerful Arab nations shun it

June 6, 2017

Reuters

Tue Jun 6, 2017 | 4:36am EDT

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By Tom Finn and Sylvia Westall | DOHA/DUBAI

Qatar’s ruler postponed an address to his country on Tuesday over its sudden and damaging diplomatic isolation from other leading Arab nations, in order to allow Kuwait some time and room to mediate.

In a sign of the potential consequences for the Qatari economy, a number of banks in the region began stepping back from business dealings with Qatar.

Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, said Doha was ready for mediation efforts after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations in a coordinated move.

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They said the break was prompted by Qatari support for Islamist militants and Iran, something Doha vehemently denies.

Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives joined later and transport links were shut down.

Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait, which has maintained ties with Qatar, and decided to postpone the speech, the minister told Qatar-based Al Jazeera television.

Doha has also decided not to retaliate against its neighbors’ moves, he said.

In one sign of the impact of the measures, some Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates commercial banks were holding off on doing business with Qatari banks, such as letters of credit, because of the diplomatic rift, banking sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Qatar’s stock market rebounded in early trade on Tuesday after plunging the previous day but the Qatari riyal fell against the U.S. dollar.

Qatar wants to give Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah the ability to “proceed and communicate with the parties to the crisis and to try to contain the issue,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Kuwait’s emir had an important role in a previous Gulf rift in 2014 and Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim “regards him as a parent and respects his desire to postpone any speech or step until there is a clearer picture of the crisis,” Al Jazeera quoted the foreign minister as saying.

Sheikh Mohammed told the channel that the measures taken against Qatar affected its citizens and family ties in the Gulf Arab region, but said Doha would not take counter measures.

He said Qatar “believes such differences between sister countries must be resolved through dialogue” and proposed holding a session to exchange views and narrow differences, while respecting each other’s views, without giving details.

Kuwait’s emir, who has spent decades as a diplomat and mediator in regional disputes, hosted Sheikh Tamim last week as the crisis was brewing.

Monday’s decision forbids Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens from traveling to Qatar, residing in it or passing through it. Residents and visitors of those countries must leave Qatar within 14 days. Qatari citizens also have 14 days to leave those countries.

The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups.

For graphic on Qatar and LNG market, click: bit.ly/2syvLUi

(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba in Cairo, Tom Finn in Doha, Tom Arnold, Hadeel Al Sayegh and Celine Aswad in Dubai, Writing by Sylvia Westall Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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