Published: Wed, June 07, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump Delves Into Arab States Rift with Qatar


'CNN and some other media sit and wait for any kind of scandal.to automatically and without any evidence blame it on Russia or Russian hackers, ' he said at a news conference following his talks with Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis.

Qatar wants to give Kuwait's Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah the ability to "proceed and communicate with the parties to the crisis and to try to contain the issue", Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said in comments to Qatar-based Al Jazeera television.

Even as Trump applauded the Arab countries' move, the Pentagon on Tuesday renewed praise of Qatar for hosting USA forces and its "enduring commitment to regional security".

Their "fingerprints are all over the place" in terror funding, Gargash said.

Qatar has denied the allegations, in the biggest diplomatic crisis to have hit the region in years. Qatar relies heavily on food imports, especially those coming over its only land border with Saudi Arabia.

Only 10 per cent of its gas exports go to Middle East states, including the UAE and Egypt. The official is pointing to offers that Kuwait and Turkey have made to mediate.

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Asked for specifics about what Arab nations wanted from Qatar, Gargash said expelling members of Hamas and other groups from Qatar was important.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt blocked access to Al Jazeera and launched an aggressive campaign accusing Qatar of supporting terrorist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State, destabilizing the region and stabbing its allies in the back.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait, which has maintained diplomatic ties with Qatar, and chose to postpone a speech to the Qatari people as requested.

Qatar's economy, fortified with its unassailable global LNG lead, is strong enough to withstand any sudden jolt amid the Gulf diplomatic row.

"Qataris are questioning whether this is going to end up in seeing a change in leadership itself in Qatar", Al Qassemi told the AP in his office in Sharjah, near Dubai.

The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups.

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As well as cutting diplomatic relations and ordering Qatari citizens to leave their countries within 14 days, the Gulf states and Egypt banned all flights to and from Qatar. The countries also said they would eject Qatar's diplomats.

Soccer's world governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association has said it remains in regular contact with Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup. Qatar just finished one of the stadiums for the tournament, though others have yet to be built.

"Qatar is a small country that survives by balancing its friends against its enemies and not making clear who are the friends and who are the enemies", said Simon Henderson, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Trump met with leaders from Arab and Muslim nations there and he says Tuesday that "they said they would take a hard line on funding extremism".

The nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic.

Qatar is home to a large US military base.

Trump spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Wednesday, according to a White House statement, which said they discussed "the critical goals of preventing the financing of terrorist organisations and eliminating the promotion of extremism by any nation in the region".

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