Qatar foreign minister: No one has 'right to blockade my country'

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"[Kuwait] affirms the readiness of the brothers in Qatar to understand the reality of the qualms and concerns of their brothers and to heed the noble endeavors to enhance security and stability", Kuwait's state news agency KUNA quoted Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah as saying.

In an interview with AFP, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani described as an attempt at "collective punishment" a decision by Saudi Arabia and its allies to cut ties with Qatar over alleged financing of extremist groups.

Qatar denies having any ties to extremists.

The gas-rich emirate's satellite news giant Al-Jazeera has also emerged as a point of contention, and on Thursday the broadcaster said it was battling a major cyber attack.

Some countries declared a number of other measures, including the termination of sea and air links and the expulsion of Qatari diplomats and subjects. With backing from US President Donald Trump, they accuse Qatar of supporting their regional arch-rival Iran as well as Islamist militants. The axis created between Turkey and Egypt could not endure more than one year, as Morsi was toppled by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2013 by a coup openly supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others.

Lawmakers from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were the main backers of the bill that allows troops to be deployed to Turkey's base in Qatar, but the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said the timing sent the "wrong message".

He said Iran was ready to help with securing food supplies in the emirate, an investment powerhouse and supplier of natural gas to world markets but tiny and reliant on imports.

"The firm understands the urgency of this matter and the need to communicate accurate information to both a broad constituency and certain domestic agencies and leaders", a contract between Qatar and Ashcroft's firm reads.

"We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender, the independence of our foreign policy", he told reporters in Doha. "No one has the right to intervene in our foreign policy", Sheikh Mohammed said.

Qatar foreign minister rejects intervention in foreign policy
Home to some 10,000 troops, it is central to the US-led fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Saudi Arabia has also sealed off Qatar's only land border, a crucial lifeline for food imports.

The spat has led to one of the worst Gulf crises in decades, with suspended flights and regional ports closed to Qatari ships.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins says Russia's intervention could complicate existing efforts to defuse the situation.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also reached out to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran in a bid to kick off negotiations.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has said Qatar needs to cut ties with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in the occupied territories, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, if it wanted to end its isolation.

Bahrain on Thursday followed the UAE in announcing that expressing sympathy for Qatar over the sanctions was an offence punishable by jail.

Turkey, which has a military base in Qatar, also pledged to provide food and water supplies.

Asked for comment after the president's remarks, a State Department spokesman offered a chart comparing parts of the two speeches that appeared to track, but he did not directly answer whether the speeches were coordinated. It is the US Air Force's largest base in the region.

Trump had accused Qatar of being a "high level" funder of terrorism on Friday, even as the Pentagon and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cautioned against the military, commercial and humanitarian effects of a blockade imposed by Arab states and others.

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