Saudi Arabia: Qatar must stop supporting Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood

In the wake of Trump's first trip overseas as president, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and cut diplomatic ties with the nation.

But Trump, wading into the worst split between powerful Arab states in decades, said on Tuesday his trip to the Middle East was "already paying off" with leaders there taking a hard new line in accusing Qatar of funding of militant groups.

"Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" he said.

Gulf allies have repeatedly criticized Qatar for alleged support of the Muslim Brotherhood, a almost 100-year-old Islamist group considered a terrorist organization by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The move came as Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf states and Egypt, severed ties with Qatar. "Our relationship is extremely good, we have some very serious discussions right now going on, and one of the things that we will discuss is the purchase of lots of attractive military equipment, because nobody makes it like the United States".

And a coup attempt or any cross-border action by the Saudis or Emiratis would put Trump in an uncomfortable position, given his now vocal support for the anti-Qatar action.

Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jabe Al-Sabah, urged Qatar to "exercise self-restraint and refrain from steps that would escalate the situation" while plans for Kuwait's mediation are formed.

Several Kuwaiti lawmakers voiced support for the emir's efforts.

"We pray to God to help him succeed in achieving Gulf unity", veteran MP Ali al-Deqbasi said during a parliamentary session.

Qatar has denied funding extremists and its foreign minister struck a defiant tone, even after anxious residents were seen panic-buying in grocery shops in the capital, Doha.

"We believe any issue could be solved through discussion and mutual respect", he told Doha-based news channel Al-Jazeera.

Kuwait - one of the Gulf countries not involved in the dispute - has offered to mediate talks, and Qatar said it was receptive to dialogue.

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The Gulf countries ordered their citizens out of Qatar and gave Qataris overseas 14 days to return home to their peninsular nation, whose only land border is with Saudi Arabia.

It is also ordering shipping agents not to receive any vessels owned by Qatari companies or Qatari nationals and not to unload any goods from Qatar. It also said that Saudi Arabia's central bank instructed "all banks working in the kingdom" to stop buying Qatari currency and to sell it as quickly as possible.

DOHA: Egypt is closing its airspace to Qatari planes in a growing diplomatic row, with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain expected to do the same on Tuesday.

The airport in Doha is the Middle East's largest transportation hub.

"Qatar used to be a kind of Saudi vassal state, but it used the autonomy that its gas wealth created to carve out an independent role for itself", said Jim Krane, energy research fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute, in Houston, Texas. "It's exceptionally quiet, nearly eerie".

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed credit for the isolation of Qatar by its neighbours in the Middle East.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, says the USA continues to be grateful to the Qataris for their longstanding support of the American presence and enduring commitment to regional security.

He said it was a direct result of Qatar Airways flights.

The sole pipeline built, the Dolphin project connecting Qatar's North Field to the United Arab Emirates and Oman, has operated at half to two thirds capacity. An Omani diplomat traveled to Qatar on Monday. They accused the oil-rich country of destabilizing the region by supporting terrorism.

He also announced $110 billion-worth of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

Gulf countries previously recalled their ambassadors from Qatar in 2014, ostensibly over its support for the Brotherhood, but Monday's moves go much further.

The split among the Sunni states erupted last month after the summit of Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia where Trump denounced Shi'ite Iran's "destablising interventions" in Arab lands, where Tehran is locked in a tussle with Riyadh for influence. But its independent foreign policy has led to various tensions with its neighbors.

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