President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday approved legislation on deployment of Turkish troops in Qatar, signaling support for the Gulf state as it faces isolation imposed by fellow Arab states over its alleged support for terrorism.
Turkey has also pledged to provide food and water supplies to Qatar.
Kuwait is leading efforts to find a mediated solution.
A woman shops in a supermarket in Qatar’s capital, Doha, Wednesday.
Four Arab nations on Friday placed dozens of people and groups with suspected links to energy-rich Qatar on a terrorism blacklist, deepening a diplomatic dispute between key USA allies that threatens to destabilize the Middle East. “The Ministry said the investigation team confirmed that the piracy process had used high techniques and innovative methods by exploiting an electronic gap on the website of the Qatar News Agency“, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The announcement intensifies the diplomatic and economic campaign to isolate Qatar, a small Gulf Arab state which is a critical global supplier of gas and hosts the biggest USA military base in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the UAE listed scores of organizations in a 2014 spat with Qatar.
“Our expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to de-escalate the situation and put forth a good faith effort to resolve their grievances they have with each other”, Tillerson said in a brief statement to reporters.
Tillerson began his remarks at the State Department with a tough message for Qatar to “be responsive to the concerns of its neighbors”.
“The most important engagement that happened so far from the U.S.is by the president, which we highly appreciate”, Meshal bin Hamad al-Thani told the Financial Times.
Abu Dhabi port authorities in the UAE have eased curbs on non-Qatari oil tankers going to and from Qatar, according to industry sources and shipping circulars seen by Reuters on Wednesday. It’s also the world’s largest exporter of liquid natural gas.
In an interview with BBC radio, UAE Ambassador to Russia Omar Saif Ghobash said Qatar had to choose between supporting extremism or supporting its neighbours. Newspapers and television channels in the region have also been engaged in a war of words.
The UAE’s state-owned Etihad Airways, meanwhile, said all travelers holding Qatari passports were now prohibited from travelling to or transiting through the emirates. The UAE announced Wednesday that “expressing sympathy, inclination or favoritism toward Qatar” is punishable by three to 15 years in prison, alongside a minimum fine of 500,000 dirhams, about $136,000.
Notwithstanding Qatar’s denials, Western diplomats accuse Qatar’s government of allowing or even encouraging the funding of some Sunni extremists, such as al-Qaida’s branch in Syria. “We hope that cooler heads will prevail, that wiser heads will prevail and we will not get to that”.