Saudi FM says 'brother state' Qatar must act to end crisis

Tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - a Middle East heavyweight - bubbled to the surface two weeks ago when Qatar said its state-run news agency and its Twitter account were hacked to publish a fake story claiming the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, had called Iran "a regional and Islamic power that can not be ignored".

Mehmet Buyukeksi, chairman of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), told Reuters that exporters stood ready to fill the gap after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia cut trade ties with Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain are among seven states that have cut diplomatic ties and many major transport links with Qatar, a gas-rich emirate on the Saudi border.

Trump on Tuesday backed the regional efforts to isolate Qatar, supporting the Saudi regime and its allies and suggesting the key US ally - home to the largest American airbase in the Middle East - has been funding "extremism".

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt banned Qatari planes from landing and forbade them from crossing their airspace. An Islamic Religious Council of Singapore spokesman said alternative flights to Saudi Arabia were being sought, with less than 200 people affected.

The U.S. news broadcaster says that the Qatari government reportedly said that a report by its official Qatar News Agency falsely cited the country's leader questioning the political future of U.S. President Donald Trump and making friendly statements about Iran.

The Reuters news agency noted a tweet sent by Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.

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Adel al-Jubeir also addressed claims Qatar had drafted in the FBI to investigate how its state-run news agency was "hacked" in an incident that first rocked diplomatic relations.

It's not the first time Russian Federation has been accused of meddling in diplomatic affairs.

Newspapers and television channels in the region have also been engaged in a war of words over Qatar's role. He said: "What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance", in reference to Trump's joining in a traditional dance with the Saudi king at the meeting.

The alleged hacking incident came days after Qatar complained it was the target of "an orchestrated barrage" of criticism by unknown parties, in the run-up to Trump's visit. These included the comments attributed to the emir, UAE accusations that Qatar has undermined the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, and Qatar's handling of a hostage crisis involving 24 members of the ruling elite in which it paid ransom money to Islamist groups in Iraq an Syria.

Qatar Airways did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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