DUBAI: US President Donald Trump offered yesterday to help resolve a worsening diplomatic crisis between Qatar and other Arab powers as the UAE invoked the possibility of an economic embargo on Doha over its alleged support of terrorism.
In his second intervention in the row in as many days, Trump urged action against terrorism in a call with Qatari Amir Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, a White House statement said.
“The President offered to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary,” it said.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday over longstanding allegations that Doha is courting Iran, which they deem the region’s biggest external threat, and supporting Islamist groups, seen as the biggest internal danger.
The four countries also cut transport links to Qatar, disrupting food and other supplies and deepening uncertainty about the future of trade and investment ties.
Qatari armed forces that had been stationed in Saudi Arabia as part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen returned home yesterday, state television reported on its Twitter account.
The forces had been stationed in southern Saudi Arabia, the report said, reinforcing Saudi defences against Houthi attacks.
In a sign of economic damage from the dispute, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Qatar’s debt as the country’s riyal currency fell to an 11-year low amid signs that portfolio investment funds were flowing out because of the rift.
S&P cut its long-term rating of Qatar by one notch to AA- from AA and put the rating on CreditWatch with negative implications, meaning there was a significant chance of a further downgrade.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said there would be more economic curbs on Qatar if necessary and said Doha needed to make ironclad commitments to change what critics say is a policy on funding Islamist militants.
He later told France 24 television that any further steps could take the form of “a sort of embargo on Qatar”.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said Gulf states could resolve a row with Qatar among themselves without outside help.
“We have not asked for mediation, we believe this issue can be dealt with among the GCC states,” he told a news conference with his German counterpart in Berlin.
Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa yesterday met Saudi, UAE and Egyptian Ambassadors to Bahrain Dr Abdullah bin Abdulmalik Al Al Shaikh, Abdul Redha Abdulla Al Khouri and Suha Ibrahim Rifaat. He hailed strong stances of their countries in support of Bahrain.