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7 Jun, 2017 20:41

Trump offers to help Qatar resolve Gulf crisis

Trump offers to help Qatar resolve Gulf crisis

US President Donald Trump has offered to host a Washington meeting to discuss the Gulf crisis, the White House has said.

The offer was made in a phone conversation on Wednesday with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani “if it would help the parties resolve their differences,” according to a statement.

During the conversation, Trump emphasized the necessity of maintaining the stability of the Arabian Gulf and stressed the “importance of all countries in the region working together to prevent the financing of terrorist organizations and stop the promotion of extremist ideology.”

"The president underscored that a united Gulf Cooperation Council is critical to defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability," the White house said in a statement.

Trump’s phone call is his first known contact with Qatar's emir since a diplomatic crisis broke out in the Gulf earlier this week.

During his visit to Saudi capital Riyadh in late May, Trump delivered a speech in which he called upon Gulf and Middle Eastern nations to step up their efforts aimed at tackling the "crisis of Islamic extremism."

The nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children,” the US leader said at the time.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorism. Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Libya's eastern-based government immediately backed the measure.

Later, the Maldives and Mauritania broke off diplomatic ties with Doha. They accuse the oil-rich nation of supporting terrorism, with Riyadh also saying Doha is collaborating with Iran-backed militias.

Qatar has vehemently denied all the accusations leveled by Riyadh and other Arab nations.

The US state and defense departments have been scrambling to limit the diplomatic damage caused by Trump’s tweets on Tuesday, in which he appears to take sides in the bitter row among Gulf monarchies.

Qatar is a major hub for US military air operations across the Middle East.

During his trip to the Middle East last month, Trump met regional leaders, including the Emir of Qatar. Trump said the two countries had been “friends for a long time” and that the two leaders discussed Qatar’s purchase of “lots of beautiful military equipment.