Oil prices slide over worries Middle East rift will undermine output cuts


Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, is acting as a mediator between Doha and some other Gulf Arab states including Saudi Arabia, which have severed diplomatic and transport ties with Doha.

President Donald Trump wants to "de-escalate" the crisis and is committed to holding talks with all parties, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday.

Soccer's governing body, FIFA, said yesterday it was in "regular contact" with Qatar's 2022 organising committee, but did not comment directly on the diplomatic situation.

Later in the day, the kingdom shut the Saudi bureau of al Jazeera.

The authorities of eastern Libya, Yemen, as well as the Maldives subsequently also announced the severance of relations with Qatar.

Qatar's foreign minister said on Tuesday Doha was ready for mediation efforts after the Arab world's biggest powers severed ties with it, adding that Qatar's ruler had delayed a speech in order to give Kuwait a chance to ease regional tensions. An Omani diplomat traveled to Qatar on Monday.

Thousands of trucks carrying food were reported to have been stuck at the Saudi border, unable to make the sole overland frontier crossing into Qatar.

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Qatar's foreign minister says Kuwait is trying to mediate and solve a diplomatic crisis that has seen Arab nations cut off diplomatic ties.

The Qatari riyal fell against the U.S. dollar to its lowest level since June 2016 on Tuesday because of concern about the long-term economic impact on Qatar after Saudi Arabia and the UAE severed ties with it.

Abdul Rahman insisted there would be "no escalation" on the part of Doha, a long-time ally of the United States which has been viewed with lingering suspicion by Washington over its leniency with groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

During Ramadan, Pakistani pilgrims who were travelling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah via Qatar were stranded in Doha after several countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and Middle East adviser to four administrations, said the situation highlights a major weakness among USA allies in the Middle East when it comes to confronting Iran.

"Qatar will know that there are alternatives, so they will be looking over their shoulder", he said.

The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups.