Try as it may, Trump administration can't avoid Qatar crisis

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed air, sea and land links with Qatar earlier this month, saying it was isolating it over its close ties with Iran and terror groups.

Speaking after a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Mr Al Thani said: "What has been presented by the countries of the blockade are merely claims that are not proved by evidence and are not demands".

Tillerson met later Tuesday with Kuwait's Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Acting Minister of Information, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah, and reaffirmed his strong support for Kuwait's efforts to mediate the dispute between Qatar and the Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia.

Signalling Washington's mounting frustration at Riyadh's role in the crisis, U.S. state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert recently called on the parties to settle their differences.

His Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir, who is also in Washington, was steadfast on Tuesday about the three-week-old dispute, which has left Qatar, a United States ally, isolated under a trade and diplomatic embargo set by its Gulf Arab neighbors.

Last week, the gulf nations issued a stringent list of demands that included shutting down Qatar's major global media outlet, Al-Jazeera, and cut off ties with Hamas, and their major economic partner Iran, among other demands.

State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said talks would continue through the week, but added the Saudi demands remained "challenging" for Qatar. We've made our point, we've taken our positions. Moreover, the countries are demanding that Qatar provide financial compensation, although the sum was not reported.

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He added: "The demands must be realistic and enforceable".

Doha retorted that the allegations against it and demands were baseless and unacceptable.

Al Jazeera quoted Al Thani as saying, "We agree with Washington that the demands should be reasonable".

"The workers were not allowed to travel into Qatar and now they are living illegally in Saudi Arabia and do not have basic needs".

The ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Gulf region undermines the fight against the Islamic State group, said Bob Corker, chairman of the influential Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Al Jubeir denied that the timing of the crisis was tied to President Trump, after speculation that the Saudis and their allies felt emboldened to take action after the president's visit to the Kingdom.

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