The United Arab Emirates (UAE) threatened to impose an economic embargo against Qatar while Bahrain said “any options” were on the table as the crisis in the Gulf showed no signs of abating on Thursday.
The tough talk from the Gulf Cooperation Council members came on Wednesday despite efforts by US President Donald Trump and Kuwait’s emir to prevent a further escalation of the dispute, which started on Monday when Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, along with Egypt, announced they were severing diplomatic relations with fellow GCC country Qatar.
UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Anwar Gargash told Reuters news agency there would be more economic curbs on Qatar, if necessary, and said Doha needed to make ironclad commitments to change what critics say is a policy of funding armed groups.
Qatari officials have repeatedly denied the allegations.
Gargash later told France 24 television any further steps could take the form of “a sort of embargo on Qatar”.
READ MORE: Qatar diplomatic crisis: All the latest updates
Kuwait’s ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, travelled from the UAE to Qatar on Wednesday after visiting Saudi Arabia the day before to resolve the crisis.
Saudi FM: Qatar measures taken with great pain
But in some of the strongest comments yet, Bahrain’s foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, reportedly told the Saudi newspaper Mecca he doubted whether Qatar would change its behaviour.
“We will not hesitate to protect our interests and the road is open to any options to protect ourselves from Qatar,” Sheikh Khalid was quoted as saying.
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and several other countries cut their ties with Doha on Monday, accusing it of supporting armed groups and their arch-foe Iran – charges Qatar says are baseless.
Gargash said measures taken against Qatar this week were not aimed at seeking new leadership in Doha.
“This is not about regime change – this is about change of policy, change of approach,” Gargash told AFP news agency in Dubai.
After apparently showing support for the moves against Qatar in tweets sent on Tuesday, Trump on Wednesday called Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani and later UAE’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to calm the situation.
Source: AljazeeraNagala soo xidhiidh firstname.lastname@example.org