Russia's Lavrov calls for talks to ease Qatar stand-off

Monday, 12 Jun, 2017

In the midst of a growing crisis over his country's diplomatic split with some Arab countries, Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani is in Moscow to hold talks with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday.

But Trump said the isolation of Qatar is not a long-term USA goal, expressing hope that the nation will "do more and do it faster" in cutting its financial ties supporting terror groups.

More than 11,000 USA and coalition forces are at al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, from which more than 100 aircraft operate.

"If anyone thinks they are going to impose anything on my internal affairs or my internal issues, this is not going to happen", Sheikh Mohammed said.

Analysts say the current crisis is in part an extension of a 2014 dispute, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain temporarily recalled their ambassadors from Doha over Qatari support for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

Crisis in the Gulf: Why is Qatar under siege? The UAE and Saudi Arabia have banned Al-Jazeera from the airwaves and closed the channel's offices.

"It could force Qatar to abandon its foreign policy objectives - or it could convince Qatar that it's surrounded by bullies and the US won't protect it and a closer alliance with Turkey and Iran could guarantee its long-term viability", Kamel said. Families are being forcibly separated, and children pulled out of school. "We are now buying Turkish products", he said. "Are we living really in the 21st century?"

Trump derided what he called Qatar's "extremist ideology in terms of funding" terrorist groups.

Crude Slips Again After Shock Rise in US Inventories
As the de facto leader and largest producer of OPEC , Saudi Arabia has cut its production the most of any member of the bloc. The week OPEC agreed to extend oil-production cuts for another nine months, USA crude exports hit a new record.

President Trump had previously tweeted support for the move to isolate Qatar over its alleged financing of extremist groups.

A preliminary investigation has confirmed that Qatar's state news agency was hacked, and false statements attributed to the country's ruler were posted that helped ignite a rift with other Gulf states, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Analysts have raised the prospect of a palace coup in Qatar, a hereditary monarchy with a history of such changes in leadership.

Qatar has said citizens of states that have cut ties with the emirate will be allowed to stay in the country despite measures against its own nationals.

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

"The team confirmed that the hacked file was installed last April, which was later exploited in the publication of the fabricated news on 24/5/2017, at 12:13am".

Turkey has maintained good relations with Qatar as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbours.

Iranian media meanwhile reported that three traditional dhow boats carrying some 350 tons of fruit are to leave for Qatar from the small Iranian port of Dayyer.