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Kuwaiti Emirates returns home after crisis talks in Riyadh | Qatar News



Kuwait's Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, arrived home after a brief visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday during talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz on ways to defuse an escalating crisis between Arab countries and Qatar.

No details were given on the talks.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic relations with Qatar on Monday in a coordinated move, accusing the peninsula of supporting "terrorists" and Iran.

Yemen's internationally recognized government also cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of working with its enemies in the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, state-run news agency Saba reported.

The Maldives and Libya's out-of-office Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni later joined the Arab nations in saying they would cut ties too.

Sanctions include shutting down transport links, including closing borders, airspace and maritime territories, which lead to fears of supply shortages.

In an interview on Monday with Al Jazeera, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Kuwait's ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, had asked Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar's ruling emir, to hold off on giving a talk about the crisis late on Tuesday night.

"He received a call from the Kuwaiti emir asking him to postpone it in order to allow time to resolve the crisis," said Sheikh Mohammed.

READ MORE: Qatar diplomatic crisis – All the latest updates

Sheikh Sabah called on Qatar's ruler to focus on easing tension and advising against decisions that could escalate the situation, Kuwait state news agency Kuna said.

Still, the Qatari foreign minister struck a defiant tone, saying his nation rejected those trying to impose their will or intervene on its internal affairs.

Kuwait, Oman 'fear escalation'

Analyst Giorgio Cafiero of Gulf State Analytics, a geopolitical risk consultancy based in Washington, DC, told Al Jazeera: "I think Kuwaitis as well as Omanis … fear the prospects of these tensions escalating in ways that could undermine the interest of all six members of the GCC.

"There are many analysts who believe that a potential break-up of the GCC has to be considered right now."

He added that if the tension escalates, some have warned of a "military confrontation".

"If these countries fail to resolve their issues and such tensions reach new heights, we have to be very open to the possibility that these six Arab countries will no longer be able to unite under the banner of one council," he said. Cafiero.

READ MORE: Qatar diplomatic crisis – How it affects air travel

The dispute between Qatar and the Arab countries escalated after a recent one hack of Qatar's state-run news agency. It has spiralled since.

As it cut ties on Monday, Saudi Arabia charged that Qatar was embracing "various terrorist and sectarian groups targeted at destabilizing the region," including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and armed groups supported by Iran in the kingdom's restive east.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry accused Qatar of taking an "antagonist approach" to Cairo and saying "all attempts to stop it from supporting terrorist groups failed".

Qatar denies allegations, with a Foreign Ministry statement describing them as "baseless" on Monday.

The group issuing sanctions on Doha "is clearly an imposition of guardianship over Qatar, which is itself a violation of its sovereignty, and is outright rejected," the statement said.

The move came just two weeks after US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and vowed to improve ties with both Riyadh and Cairo to combat "terrorism" and contain Iran.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the move was rooted in long-standing differences and urged the parties to resolve them.

"It is true that the current US administration is adopting a little more Saudi position distant from Qatari position," Richard Weitz, a senior fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, told Al Jazeera

"But I still think that US military contacts can play a good role in helping to resolve, perhaps, some of the difference, because the US military in particular wants to end this dispute because of the difficulty of finding space and terrorism cooperation and so on. "

The Gulf countries ordered their citizens out of Qatar and gave Qataris abroad 14 days to return home to their peninsular nation, whose only land border is with Saudi Arabia. The countries also said they would eject Qatar's diplomats.

READ MORE: Timeline of GCC, Egyptian discord with Qatar

The nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic. Trucks carrying food had begun lining up on the Saudi side of the border, apparently stranded. The Qatar Stock Exchange fell more than seven percent in trading Monday.

Qatar Airways, one of the region's major long haul carriers, has suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain until further notice.

On its website, the carrier said the suspension of its flights would take effect Tuesday and customers are being offered a refund.

The route between Doha and Dubai is popular with business travelers and both are major transit hubs for travelers between Asia and Europe.


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