United Arab Emirates: Qatar Faces Fresh Sanctions, 'Permanent Isolation'

President Trump with recently appointed Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman

President Trump with recently appointed Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain suspended ties with Qatar on June 5 over allegations that the emirate supports extremists. "Tillerson has said he hopes the list of demands would be "reasonable and actionable".

Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab countries have been complaining about these Qatari activities for the past five years.

Commenting on the meeting between Tillerson and the Kuwaiti minister, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement that the two leaders "reaffirmed the need for all parties to exercise restraint to allow for productive diplomatic discussions".

The demands included that Qatar shut down the Al Jazeera media network, close a Turkish military base and scale down ties with Iran.

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Oil price agency S&P Global Platts is proposing to remove from next month restrictions it had placed on Qatari crude in its pricing assessment after Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states cut ties with Doha, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The blockade has disrupted imports of food and other materials into Qatar and caused many foreign banks to scale back their business with the country. The State Department and Pentagon have reiterated that they would like a quick end to the standoff; the biggest US military base in the region, and the launching pad for USA strikes on Islamic State, is in Qatar.

Top Gulf diplomats were in Washington on Tuesday as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to help resolve the stubborn Qatar crisis, amid concerns that Saudi Arabia's unyielding stance could foil the effort.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have been condemned by Qatar after the alliance refused to negotiate on its 13-strong list of demands to its neighbour. These demands include closing an Al Jazeera TV. The country's young emir told Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in a phone call June 25 that "Qatar has open arms for interaction and cooperation", adding that "relations between Iran and Qatar have always been developing and powerful".

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The feud erupted this month when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and travel links with Qatar, accusing it of also being an ally of regional foe Iran.

The Qatari foreign minister however issued a statement on Tuesday and said the demands were "unreasonable" and "false".

Saudi Arabia and its allies are waging a brutal war in Yemen against Houthi rebels allegedly backed by Iran, and are supporting the U.S. war in Syria aimed at ousting the Iranian- and Russian-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The list of thirteen demands to which Qatar must respond within ten days appears to reflect longstanding desires - although not publicly stated until very recently - by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, of which Doha has been dismissive. Qatar denies supporting extremism and considers the demands an attempt to undermine its sovereignty.

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Asked by Congressman Bill Keating about her position on the Qatar blockade, amid conflicting statements from the Trump administration, Haley said, the crisis is a chance to let Doha know that the United States objects to its support for groups like Hamas.

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