1The leader of Qatar reportedly has no plans to accept President Trump's
invitation for a meeting at the White House until the country moves past an
effort by several Persian Gulf neighbors to isolate the nation.
A Qatari official told Reuters on Thursday that the emir of Qatar, Sheikh
Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, would not be accepting Trump's invitation and “
has no plans to leave Qatar while the country is under a blockade.”
One diplomat in Kuwait told the news outlet that “the feeling here is that
it is going to take a while to fix. It is more about preventing things from
Trump spoke with the leader of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to push for regional
unity, and during a Wednesday phone call with the emir of Qatar he “offered
to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting
at the White House if necessary,” according to a White House statement.
Qatar vows no surrender in Gulf crisis as USA and Kuwait seek solution
World News | Thu Jun 8, 2017 | By Tom Finn | Reuters
DOHA -- Qatar vowed on Thursday to ride out the isolation imposed on it by
fellow Arab states over its alleged support for terrorism and said it would
not compromise its sovereignty over foreign policy to resolve the region's
biggest diplomatic crisis in years.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed
relations with the small Gulf Arab state on Monday, accusing it of
supporting Islamist militants and their arch-adversary Iran - charges Qatar
Would-be mediators including President Donald Trump and Kuwait's ruling emir
have struggled to ease a crisis that Qataris say has led to a blockade of
Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Qatar had not
yet been presented with a list of demands by countries that cut off
diplomatic and transport ties, but insisted the matter be solved peacefully.
"We have been isolated because we are successful and progressive. We are a
platform for peace," he told reporters in Doha in a defiant tone.
"We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender, the
independence of our foreign policy," he said, warning that the dispute
threatened the stability of the region.
Saudi Arabia's closure of Qatar's only land border sparked fears of major
price hikes and food shortages for its population of 2.7 million people.
"We're not worried about a food shortage, we're fine. We can live forever
like this, we are well prepared," Sheikh Mohammed said.
He said Iran was ready to help with securing food supplies in the emirate,
an investment powerhouse and supplier of natural gas to world markets but
tiny and reliant on imports.
Turkey has meanwhile brought forward a planned troop deployment to Qatar and
pledged to provide food and water supplies to its Arab ally, which hosts a
Turkish military base.
MEDIATION EFFORTS FALTER
Trump initially took sides with the Saudi-led group before apparently being
nudged into a more even-handed approach when USA defense officials renewed
praise of Doha, mindful of the major American military base hosted by Qatar
that serves, in part, as a launchpad for strikes on Islamic State insurgents.
In his second intervention in as many days, Trump urged action against
terrorism in a call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on
Wednesday and offered help in resolving the crisis, including through a
meeting at the White House.
But a Qatari official said on Thursday the emir would not be accepting the
"The emir has no plans to leave Qatar while the country is under a blockade,
" the official told Reuters.
The White House said Trump was continuing to talk with all partners. U.N.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was also ready to support diplomatic
efforts "if desired by all parties," his spokesman said.
"The feeling here is that it is going to take a while to fix. It is more
about preventing things from getting worse," said one diplomat in Kuwait,
whose leader was in both the UAE and Qatar on Wednesday for consultations.
"IT IS A BLOCKADE!"
The UAE's national postal group suspended services to Qatar and the UAE
aviation authority said it had closed air space for traffic to and from Doha.
The Abu Dhabi Petroleum Ports Authority also reimposed a ban on oil tankers
linked to Qatar calling at ports in the UAE, reversing a decision to ease
restrictions and potentially creating a logjam of crude cargoes.
"It is a blockade! Like that of Berlin. A declaration of war. A political,
economic and social aggression," a Qatari diplomat said. "We need the world
to condemn the aggressors."
Authorities tried to calm nerves on Wednesday, releasing a video showing a
shop with shelves brimming with food and reassuring Qataris - the wealthiest
people in the world per capita - that their quality of life would not be
AL JAZEERA CAUGHT IN ROW
State-funded Al Jazeera's acting director general, Mostefa Souag, dismissed
accusations that its reportage is pro-Islamist and amounts to meddling in
the affairs of other Arab states. "We don't interfere in anybody's business,
we just report," he told Reuters at Al Jazeera's Doha headquarters.
A company source later said the network was combating a large-scale cyber
attack but remained operational, and Qatar's official state TV said it had
shut down its website temporarily after facing hacking attempts.
Qatar said last month its state news agency had been hacked and false
statements attributed to its ruler posted, helping ignite this week's rift
with other Arab states.
(Additional reporting by Reem Shamseddine, Aziz El Yaakoubi, Sylvia Westall,
Sami Aboudi, Andrew Torchia, Stephen Kalin, Noah Browning and Ali
Abdbellaty in DUBAI and Idrees Ali in WASHINGTON; Writing by William Maclean
; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Nick Tattersall)