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Trump offers to help resolve Qatar crisis

11 Juin 2017

Trump spoke with the emir of Qatar on Wednesday, the White House announced, and "offered to help the parties resolve their differences", by hosting a meeting if necessary. Around 90 Turkish soldiers are now at the base, it said.Turkish officials were not immediately available to comment on the report but Hurriyet said there were plans to send some 200-250 soldiers within two months in the initial stage.Staff at Al Jazeera said on Friday that a cyber attack had been dealt with at the Qatari state-funded network, watched by millions of people across the Arabic-speaking world."It is under control".

Qatar has been one of the few foreign backers of internationally shunned Hamas, an Islamic militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

The worldwide agency Standard and Poors announced Wednesday that it lowered its rating on Qatar's long-term debt to AA-minus because of the country's dispute with its neighbours.

Late Tuesday, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on Qatar-based Al Jazeera television that his country was ready for global mediation, adding that the emir had postponed a national speech on the crisis to leave Kuwait more room to "proceed and communicate with the parties to the crisis and to try to contain the issue".

DUBAI/DOHA Arab states that have isolated Qatar tightened their squeeze on Friday by putting dozens of figures with links to the country on terrorism blacklists, while Qatar's ally Turkey rushed to its side with plans to send troops, warships and planes.The developments intensified a confrontation between tiny-but-wealthy Qatar and a group of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt that accuse it of fomenting instability. Qatar has denied the allegations.

Food imports are affected as Saudi Arabia closed its land border with Qatar, stranding thousands of trucks carrying supplies. Slogans against and in support of Qatar have dominated Twitter in Arabic.

In a call with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, U.S. President Donald Trump offered to mediate the country's diplomatic crisis with its neighbors.

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Qatar has yet to receive any list of demands from the Arab countries that have cut ties, Sheikh Mohammed said. In a tweetstorm, Trump said Mideast leaders he'd met with last month had all "pointed to Qatar" as the source of terrorist financing, waxing optimistically that the isolation of the kingdom might be "the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism".

Moscow, meanwhile, dismissed allegations that Russian hackers helped spark the diplomatic crisis, after CNN reported that USA officials believed they had planted a false news story.

"We don't see that he's pointing fingers at Qatar", Al Thani said.

In a sign of economic damage from the dispute, Standard & Poor's downgraded Qatar's debt on Wednesday as the country's riyal currency fell to an 11-year low amid signs that portfolio investment funds were flowing out because of the rift.

In a preliminary report published late on Wednesday, the investigators did not say who they held responsible for the hack but said that both Britain and the United States were helping with their inquiry.

"I want to clearly say we disapprove the sanctions on Qatar", Erdogan was quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency as saying on Tuesday. The Saudis and others have cited an article in which a top Qatari official seemed to pay tribute to Iran as a major regional power; the Qataris say the comments were fabricated as part of the hack.

"This is not about regime change - this is about change of policy, change of approach", Gargash told AFP news agency in Dubai.