UAE threatens 15 years in prison for expressions of 'sympathy' with Qatar

Arab nations risk gas insecurity over rift with Qatar

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Saudi Arabia's foreign minister warned ties would only be restored if Qatar changed its "hostile media", "support of extremist groups" and "interference in affairs of other countries". "Actually, the co-operation between our security and intelligence agencies, between Qatar and Saudi has been serving the goal of the national security of Saudi", the Minister added. Qatar has denied the allegations.

"The president offered to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary", Trump's office said after the call. The Russian government has been accused of using cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns to influence the outcome of the USA presidential election, as well as elections across Europe, including the recent French election.

"For us, this a critical issue and there is no turning back to the status quo", Gargash said on Wednesday in Dubai. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, the internationally recognized government in Yemen and the leadership in Eastern Libya have all suspended diplomatic and commercial links to Qatar, including air travel.

On Monday, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama announced the rupture of diplomatic and consular ties with Doha after accusing it of promoting terrorism and aligning itself with Iran's policy towards the Arab monarchist bloc and gave the Qataris two weeks to leave their territories. Qatar has also accused Saudi Arabia of backing the militant group. There are also fears of food shortages, given that Qatar imports most of its perishable foods.

The crisis in the Middle East, which escalated on Monday when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and sought to isolate it, is being carefully - and nervously - monitored by the sport of kings.

Qatar, which is dependent on the Saudi route for its food exports, also turned to Turkey and Iran for food supplies. The EU looks towards Qatar's gas sanguinely as this would help reduce the former's heavy dependence on Russian Federation and disqualify the use of gas supply leverage by Russian Federation for political reasons.

Measures taken by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other nations against Qatar aim to pressure Doha into drastic policy changes, a senior UAE official told AFP yesterday.

But the Pentagon has also thanked Qatar for hosting the largest U.S. airbase in the Middle East.

The forward headquarters of US Central Command, responsible for military operations in the Middle East and the fight against IS, is based in Qatar.

"Tensions are still high and mediation efforts by fellow Gulf Cooperation Council state Kuwait have yet to lead to a concrete solution, so investors will likely remain on edge", said one Dubai-based trader.

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