Russian Federation denies reports of hacking Qatar's state news agency


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday tightened the squeeze on fellow Gulf nation Qatar threatening anyone publishing expressions of sympathy toward it with up to 15 years in prison, and barring entry to Qataris.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain are among several states that this week cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, in the worst crisis to hit the Gulf in recent years.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister warned ties would only be restored if Qatar changed its "hostile media", "support of extremist groups" and "interference in affairs of other countries".

"At this stage, we note that there are numerous uncertainties regarding Qatar's response, the extent to which these measures will be imposed, and their longevity", said S&P Global Ratings.

The terse statement said the two leaders also discussed bilateral cooperation and highly assessed the results of a meeting of an inter-government commission in April. "They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar".

Egypt also announced the closure of its airspace and seaports for all Qatari transportation to protect its national security. The Arab Sunni nations accuse Qatar of supporting radical groups, including allowing or encouraging financial support.

Credit ratings affect what borrowers may expect to pay when they raise funds by issuing bonds to investors.

President Donald Trump is backing Saudi Arabia and other Mideast nations in taking what he says is a "hardline" on Qatar, and said perhaps the rift will be "the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism".

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told CNN the Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed the hack and the planting of fake news.

In his tweet, Trump voiced support for the regional blockade of Qatar and cited Qatar's funding of terrorist groups.

The Kuwaiti emir played a pivotal role in mediating a compromise in a 2014 diplomatic dispute between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states.

Thani also reacted to Trump's tweet on the Gulf countries severing ties with Qatar.

The moves isolating Qatar, which denies aiding terrorists, are disrupting trade in commodities from crude oil to metals and food, and deepening fears of a possible jolt to the global gas market, where the tiny Gulf state is a major player.

The UAE added that Qatar had failed to abide by its agreement regarding the return of GCC diplomats to its capital, Doha, which was agreed in the US-Islamic Summit - attended by US President Trump - held in Saudi Arabia in May.

When avoiding Saudi Arabia, their massive - and only - neighbour, Qatar's planes are having to take more indirect routes, leading to longer flight times.