Russia, United Arab Emirates discuss Qatar crisis

Posted June 17, 2017

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and others severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar nearly two weeks ago, accusing Doha of supporting extremist groups. Qatar's expulsion of Hamas leaders from Doha following American and Gulf pressure over Qatari support for terrorism means that Hamas is now as internationally isolated as it has ever been and can not count on the same level of financial support from Qatar that it has enjoyed.

And earlier this week the United States agreed a $12- billion sale to Qatar of "state-of-the-art" F-15 fighters. "I don't think we have a problem with the Pentagon".

Among the punitive measures, Qatar Airways is banned from the airspace of its neighbours, Gulf states gave Qataris 14 days to get out, and Saudi closed its land border through which much of Qatar's food supply crossed.

And in the midst of the worst diplomatic crisis involving America's Gulf allies in years, Smith, the USA envoy to Qatar, announced she was leaving her post in Doha.

At the moment the Saudis and Emiratis are compiling a list of demands for Qatar to meet as a condition for lifting the economic and diplomatic boycott.

The U.S. envoy to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, retweeted on Monday a message from October in which she praised the U.S. partnership with Qatar, citing "real progress to counter terrorist financing". Yet Trump, fresh from his trip to Riyadh, seemed to giddily join the Saudi and UAE bandwagon. They accused it of state support for extremist groups and denounced its political proximity to Shiite Iran.

As diplomatic efforts continued, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a three-way call with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and the Qatar emir.

"This is of course proof that USA institutions are with us but we have never doubted that", a Qatari official in Doha said.

Saudi relations with Qatar have always been strained.

"There is a conspiracy version that the Qatar crisis was provoked by the negative results of the deal for the US", Dmitry Egorchenkov, an expert at the Institute for Strategic Studies and Prognosis at Moscow-based RUDN University, told RT.

"Qatar has failed to honour the pledge it made in 2013, to refrain from funding terrorism, interfering in the internal affairs of other countries in the region and destabilising these countries".

The#Middle East exploded when Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE imposed a trade embargo on Qatar.

Russia's Vladimir Putin not being left out warned that the blockade against Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies would make it harder to reach a peaceful end to the war in Syria after he discussed with the Saudi King Salman.

The Gambia government has issued a statement calling for dialogue and restraint in the ongoing conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia as well as the Gulf states. It has forced us to assert that no other nation can dictate to the United States how we will address such disputes.

Qatar - a longtime USA ally - denies the accusations.