Trump offers help resolve Gulf crisis, UAE tightens squeeze on Qatar

Pauline Gross
June 19, 2017

The crisis has thrust the US into a delicate position because of its alliances with all sides - and because Qatar hosts the nerve center for USA air operations in the Middle East, including the fight against Islamic State.

Trump spoke with the emir of Qatar on Wednesday and offered help in resolving the crisis, the White House said.

The statement said that Trump emphasised the importance of all countries in the region working together to prevent the financing of terrorist organisations and stop the promotion of extremist ideology.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday.

Trump's comments came shortly after Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Arab nations to immediately ease their blockade on Qatar.

Tillerson, speaking at the State Department, said the USA would help support efforts to mediate the crisis, along with Kuwait - another Gulf country that has stepped up to try to broker a resolution.

Turkey's president also called on Saudi Arabia to remove all sanctions on Qatar and open diplomatic talks.

"So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off". "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" Tillerson however, tried to emphasize the humanitarian consequences of the blockade, including food shortages.

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Saudi Arabia and its close allies in the region moved against Qatar, cutting off sea and air travel and moving to isolate their fellow sunni Gulf country.

Tillerson says the blockade is hindering USA military efforts and the campaign against the Islamic State group. More than 11,000 USA and coalition forces are at the base, from which more than 100 aircraft operate. He did not explain how exactly it was affecting planning for longer-term operations.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Turkey would stand by Qatar amid a diplomatic row engulfing the Gulf state, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

Qatar has backed Islamist movements but vehemently denies supporting terrorism.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the country's foreign minister, called the moves by Arab neighbours and others "clear violations of worldwide law and global humanitarian law".

Professor Wang Yiwei of the People's University in China believes that even though Chinese investments will not be directly affected by the current conflict, the growing instability in the region could still have a negative impact on China's economic cooperation with the Gulf States. Kuwait has been mediating among the countries and Turkey has offered to as well. Earlier this week, RBC Capital Markets stategists noted that Kuwait's emir is likely to be the broker in a resolution, and that in the meantime, tensions could hurt Qatar's oil exports, but that shipments mostly can avoid the blockade by neighbors.

Gargash, the UAE minister, told Reuters in an interview it would be very complex to disentangle the "very diverse" business ties between Qatar and its neighbours but suggested this might be necessary.

Other reports by GizPress

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