Russian hackers 'planted false story' behind Qatar crisis

Jordan will downgrade its diplomatic representation with Qatar, it said on Tuesday, after examining the "cause of the crisis" between Doha and several other Arab states.

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

Some 8,000 USA military personnel are stationed at al Udeid in Qatar, the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East and a staging ground for US-led strikes on the Islamic State militant group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

Trump says on Twitter that it was good to see that his visit to Saudi Arabia was "already paying off". "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" The call came after a senior Saudi royal arrived in Kuwait with a message from the Saudi king.

Still, the minister struck a defiant tone, rejecting those "trying to impose their will on Qatar or intervene in its internal affairs".

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah flew to Saudi Arabia for talks with King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Saudi and Kuwaiti state media reported, but gave no details on the discussions.

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The "leaders discussed the critical goals of preventing the financing of terrorist organisations and eliminating the promotion of extremism by any nation in the region", the White House statement said. More than 1 million Filipinos live and work in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.

Gabriel, who is due to meet Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Wednesday, said he was surprised by the intensity of the tensions erupting in the Gulf region.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was ready to back "all initiatives to encourage calm".

The crisis will have wide-ranging consequences, not just for Qatar and its citizens but across the Middle East and for Western interests. As the forward headquarters of US Central Command, it is seen as crucial in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with Qatar's Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani, and reaffirmed Moscow's position "in favor of settling crisis situations by political and diplomatic means, through dialogue", the Kremlin said.

The incidental effects will still be there though; trade, air travel and other connections with Qatar will undergo some strain, even if they are not consciously disrupted.

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Qatar is also a major regional diplomatic player and global investor and is set to host the World Cup, football's biggest tournament, in 2022.

But Qatar has also always been accused by its Gulf neighbors and Egypt of supporting extremist groups.

Riyadh also accused Doha of supporting Iran-backed "terrorist activities" in eastern Saudi Arabia and in Shiite-majority Bahrain.

"You can not rule out further measures", he said.

Qatar is in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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