Trump berates Qatar as Gulf stand-off escalates


The crisis is a major diplomatic test for the United States, which is a close ally of countries on both sides but has given mixed signals on whether to isolate Qatar or bring it into talks with other Gulf countries.

Qatar's official overseer of charities denied on Sunday that philanthropic groups in the country backed terrorism, days after U.S. President Donald Trump backed a move by some Arab states to pressure Doha over alleged militant financing.

"We will continue deliveries as long as there is demand" from Qatar, Noushabadi added, without mentioning if these deliveries were exports or aid.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Saturday welcomed US President Donald Trump's warning to Qatar to stop funding terrorism.

Qatar called the accusations baseless and dispatched Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on a diplomatic offensive to enlist support from overseas.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism, and imposed punitive measures.

The US President accused Qatar of being a "funder of terrorism at a very high level" at a White House news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Friday. In a separate statement issued on Friday, the United Arab Emirates praised Trump's "leadership in challenging Qatar's troubling support for extremism".

Iran voiced readiness to provide Qatar with whatever food products the Arab country needs immediately after Saudi Arabia and a number of others broke off relations with Qatar, which relies heavily on importing food.

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Explaining Turkey's stake in the conflict, Cavusoglu said, "we see threats toward the Gulf region as threats toward us". Qatar has ties with Iran and has supported Islamist groups, like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Bahrain's justice minister on Saturday said it would prosecute any person or political group caught supporting or even communicating with any person or group on the sanctions list.

The statement said the list was "an indication of the duality of Qatar policies".

AFP adds: Saudi Arabia and its allies Saturday welcomed an accusation by President Donald Trump that Qatar was bankrolling extremism but ignored a separate U.S. call for them to ease their economic blockade.

The announcement comes after their cutting of diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar led to travel disruption, and the ordering of all Qataris out within 14 days, while calling their own citizens back. Many Qataris also live in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and UAE. A recent Saudi-led effort to send American military veterans to lobby Congress proved controversial when some said they were unaware the kingdom paid for their trips to Washington.

For its part, Qatar issued an overnight statement saying residents living in the country from nations that severed ties would have "complete freedom" to stay despite the "hostile and tendentious campaigns" now targeting it.

"People from across the region... risk losing jobs and having their education disrupted". "No one should be punished for peacefully expressing their views or criticizing a government decision", said Lynch.

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