Trump slams Qatar for funding terror as Tillerson urges calm

by Ben Pena June 21, 2017, 1:59
Trump slams Qatar for funding terror as Tillerson urges calm

President Donald Trump said he backed a Saudi Arabia-led movement to isolate Qatar over its funding of extremist groups, once again sending conflicting signals about the USA stance in a dispute between American allies in the Gulf region. "No more funding", the president said.

Earlier this week, Trump invited the emir of Qatar to the White House, telling the leader he would help resolve the dispute. Moreover, it is in talks with Turkey and Iran to secure food supplies that were mainly imported from Saudi Arabia.

Jubeir declined to confirm a list of 10 demands published by Al Jazeera, which included shutting down the widely watched, Doha-based satellite network. "We have to stop the funding of terrorism". Trump said the nations that imposed the blockade - including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates -- came to him in the wake of his conference in the region to discuss "confronting Qatar over its behavior". "Our relationship with the US speaks for itself". "Qatar is clearly uneasy about the aggressive new Saudi-US policy that Trump announced in last month's visit to Riyadh", he stated.

The call with Qatar's emir showed Trump trying to personally involve himself in resolving the conflict. He said families were being separated, children removed from school and Qataris forced to deal with food shortages.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that the repercussions of cutting ties on the Qatari economy should convince it to reconsider its policies. But at the Pentagon, a spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said only long-term military planning was affected.

Qatar has denounced the allegations and received backing from its close ally Turkey, whose parliament approved the deployment of troops to defend the emirate.

Still, the Pentagon has been developing contingency plans in case there's any interruption, defense officials said.

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In Dubai, Kuwait's emir met two top officials in the United Arab Emirates to try and mediate a growing diplomatic crisis over Qatar.

It wasn't immediately clear how Qatar, which hosts some 10,000 US troops, might respond to Trump's critique.

Qatar called the accusations baseless and dispatched Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on a diplomatic offensive to enlist support from overseas.

Author and political activist David Swanson said that the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar all claimed to be fighting extreme Islamist terror but all three of them continues d to support it. Qatar says it does not accept its neighbours' view that any group with an Islamist background is terrorist.

The spat has led to one of the worst Gulf crises in decades, with suspended flights and regional ports closed to Qatari ships.

Trump initially took sides with the Saudi-led group before apparently being nudged into a more even-handed approach when USA defence officials renewed praise of Doha, mindful of the major US military base hosted by Qatar that serves, in part, as a launchpad for strikes on Islamic State jihadists.


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