DUBAI - Qatar is ready to listen to the concerns of Gulf Arab states that have cut diplomatic and economic ties, Kuwait said on Sunday, as it tried to mediate a solution to the worst regional crisis in years.

Saudi Arabia and allies Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) severed ties with Qatar last week, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and arch-foe Iran - charges Doha denies. The rift has disrupted travel, separated families, severed commercial links and sown confusion among banks and businesses while deepening divisions between their respective allies fighting in wars and political struggles from Libya to Yemen.

"(Kuwait) affirms the readiness of the brothers in Qatar to understand the reality of the qualms and concerns of their brothers and to heed the noble endeavors to enhance security and stability," Kuwait's state news agency KUNA quoted Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah as saying.

Kuwait, which has retained ties with Qatar and has often acted as a mediator in regional disputes, said it wanted to resolve the dispute "within the unified Gulf house".

A previous mediation effort by Kuwait in which the Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah shuttled between Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha, failed to achieve an immediate breakthrough.

"Is this the beginning of wisdom and reasonable thinking? I hope so," UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter in reaction to Kuwait saying Qatar was ready to listen to the grievances.

Morocco, a close ally of the Gulf countries, said on Sunday it would remain neutral and offered to facilitate dialogue.

"If the parties so wish, the Kingdom of Morocco is ready to offer its services to foster a frank and comprehensive dialogue on the basis of non-interference in internal affairs and the fight against religious extremism," a statement from the country's foreign ministry read.

US President Donald Trump at first offered to host Qatar and its adversaries - all US allies - at the White House, but on Friday said Qatar has been a high-level sponsor of terrorism and backed the Gulf pressure.

Saudi Arabia's powerful Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed efforts to "counter terrorism and extremism" in a telephone call with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday, state news agency SPA said.

But a Qatari diplomat said the crisis reflected a lack of US leadership.

"This is the biggest testimony to US failure in the Gulf," the diplomat told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. "(It) gives others the impression the US does not know how to manage the relationship with its allies or is incapable."

On Friday Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt tightened their squeeze on Qatar by putting dozens of figures and charities they link to the country on terrorism blacklists.

Qatar's official overseer of charities denied on Sunday that philanthropic groups in the country backed terrorism, saying it deplored the accusation.

A peninsular nation of 2.5 million people, Qatar has for years punched well above its weight in world affairs by parleying its vast gas wealth into influence across the region, irking many with its maverick stances and support for Islamists.

But it was importing 80 percent of its food from bigger Gulf Arab neighbors before they cut ties and is now in talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies.

Iran - the main regional rival of Saudi Arabia - sent four cargo planes of food to Qatar and plans to provide 100 tonnes of fruit and vegetables every day, Iranian officials said on Sunday, amid concerns of shortages.

Senior officials from the countries opposed to Qatar have warned it that appealing for foreign assistance will not advance a reconciliation.

Qatar's energy minister said on Sunday Doha remained committed to an oil output cut deal agreed by OPEC and non-OPEC producers last month.

Mohammed al-Sada said in a statement: "circumstances in the region shall not prevent the state of Qatar from honoring its international commitment of cutting its oil production".

In a sign Gulf states were seeking to lessen the human impact of their June 5 severing of ties, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE said on Sunday they had set up hotlines to help families with Qatari members, without elaborating.

 

UAE exempts Qataris married to Emiratis from expulsion order

The United Arab Emirates will not deport Qataris who are married to Emirati nationals, Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National reported on Monday, a week after severing ties with Doha and giving Qataris 14 days to leave.

In the worst Gulf Arab crisis for years, the UAE, along with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, cut diplomatic as well as travel and trade ties with Qatar, accusing their fellow Gulf state of supporting Iran and funding Islamist groups. Doha denies the charges.

Before the decision Gulf Arab citizens could easily travel, reside and work across the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The restrictions have left thousands of Qataris cut off from relatives in a region where cross-border marriages are common and Gulf rulers refer to each other as "brothers".

"Qataris married to Emiratis will not be deported," The National wrote on Monday, without giving a source for the information. "UAE airports and borders have been ordered to allow any Qatari citizens who are immediate relatives of Emiratis to pass through," it added.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report.

The move appears to be part of recent efforts to lessen the human toll of the rift. On Sunday authorities in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain said they were setting up hotlines to help families with Qatari members, without elaborating.

Saudi state news agency SPA reported late on Sunday that King Salman has ordered authorities to "take into consideration humanitarian situations of Saudi-Qatari joint families," appearing to clarify the previous announcements. Bahrain issued a similar statement on its state news agency.

Saudi Arabia also said that Qataris who wanted to perform Islamic pilgrimages were also exempt from the measures and would be allowed into the Kingdom as normal.

"The pilgrims from Qatar are in the hearts of their Saudi brethren from when they enter the Kingdom until their departure," SPA said, quoting the official body in charge of Makkah and Medina.

In a statement on Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Gulf states to ease their measures against Qatar which he said were forcing the separation of families and causing children to be pulled out of school.

"Our expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to de-escalate the situation and put forth a good faith effort to resolve their grievances they have with each other," he said.

Qatar said on Saturday it would not expel citizens of the countries that had cut ties with it.