US President and Russian Foreign Minister have called for an end to the Qatar crisis as Russia, Qatar vow to boost trade ties.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani meets with Russias foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Doha.
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani meets with Russias foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Doha. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump is urging the countries embroiled in a regional dispute with Qatar to find a diplomatic resolution.

The White House says Trump discussed the issue on Wednesday in a telephone conversation with Saudi Arabia's King Salman.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other Sunni-majority countries have severed relations with Qatar since June 5, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism based on its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Taliban.

Another point of departure is Qatar's ties with Iran, with whom it shares one of the world's biggest gas fields.

Qatar has denied the accusations and called the collective decision "unjustified." Kuwait, Turkey and the US have all urged a political solution as the bloc isolates Qatar using various ad hoc sanctions, including shutting down their airspace to Qataris and blocking import routes.

Trump told King Salman that a diplomatic resolution would fulfill a commitment, made when Trump visited Riyadh, to maintain unity while fighting terrorism.

Russia also calls for end to crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who has visited Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE as part of his Gulf tour, called for all parties to find a solution.

He said the disputing countries should work with regional mediators Kuwait to resolve the crisis.

"We are convinced that there's a need to seek a solution by searching for mutually beneficial approaches through dialect," said the Russian foreign minister.

"It's in our interests for the GCC to be united and strong," he said, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Qatar and Russia to "bolster" economic ties

Lavrov's statements come as Qatar and Russia, two of the world's largest energy producers, on Wednesday vowed to increase trade ties.

Lavrov made the commitment after a "lengthy" meeting in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani, and before that, the country's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani.

"We are committed to bolstering trade and economic ties," Lavrov told reporters afterwards.

He added that Moscow "attached great importance" to economic cooperation, including energy, between the two countries, a sentiment echoed by Sheikh Mohammed.

Russia and Qatar are two of the world's top four gas-producing countries.

Both are also major oil producers, and last year Qatar spent billions on taking a stake in Russia's state-controlled oil company, Rosneft. 

"Still in the same position"

Qatar has turned to expanding its economic ties after the start of the Gulf diplomatic crisis in June. 

On the crisis itself, Sheikh Mohammed said there had been little change and accused Saudi and others of ignoring Qatari calls for dialogue.

"Now we have reached 90 days of the crisis we are still in the same position," he said.

"We haven't seen any change or development in reaching the end of the crisis."

He accused Saudi Arabia and its partners of ignoring "on at least 12 different occasions" Qatari calls for talks on resolving the diplomatic impasse.

"Qatar maintains its position that this crisis can only be achieved through a constructive dialogue ... but the blockading counties are not responding to any efforts being conducted by Kuwait or other friendly countries," Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani told reporters in Doha on Wednesday at a news conference with his Russian counterpart.

The UAE's ambassador to the United States, Yousef al Otaiba, in an interview with US-based magazine The Atlantic on Monday, said his country would negotiate with Qatar so long as Doha did not set any preconditions for talks.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies