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Saudi Arabia and its allies issue Qatar-linked 'terrorism' list

11 Juin 2017

Kuwait's emir traveled to Qatar to help mediate an end to a crisis that's seen Arab nations cut ties to the energy-rich nation home to a major USA military base, though Emirati officials warned there was "nothing to negotiate".

In his second intervention in as many days, Trump urged action against terrorism in a call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Wednesday and offered help in resolving the crisis, including through a meeting at the White House.

In the meantime, Qatar's neighbors kept up a drumbeat of criticism and warnings.

Trump's bid to fashion himself as a neutral arbiter among Arab governments departed from his stance only a day earlier, when he left little doubt about where he felt the fault rested.

The White House said Trump was continuing to talk with all partners.

He was speaking after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and several other countries severed diplomatic ties with Doha on Monday and closed transport links.

And he was even tougher on media reports suggesting Qatar supports the Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels fighting the internationally recognised government in Yemen.

"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", Tillerson said.

Trump also called Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E., Wednesday.

It wasn't immediately clear how Trump's sharp condemnation might affect USA cooperation with Qatar, which hosts some 10,000 US troops and a major USA air base that serves as a staging ground for operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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But the visit came after Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told The Associated Press that Qatar has "chosen to ride the tiger of extremism and terrorism" and now needed to pay the price, despite Qatar long denying the allegation. The Arab Sunni nations accuse Qatar of supporting radical groups, including allowing or encouraging financial support.

Qatar is home to 2.7 million people but only about 300,000 citizens: most of its population comprise foreign workers that helped to build the tiny finger off the Arabian Peninsula into a natural gas exporting powerhouse, crowned with skyscrapers.

"We have all kinds of recordings taking place where they (Qatar) are coordinating with Al-Qaeda in Syria", he said.

Countries across the globe are increasingly faced with the same conundrum: How much credence to give to the president's Twitter musings when they deviate sharply from US policy?

Saudi Arabia and allies, which have cut ties with Doha, on Friday issued a list of individuals and entities they say are linked to Qatar over "terrorism".

"Doha now is completely isolated", Al Qassemi said. The U.S. military has previously insisted that that it would not affect U.S. military operations in the region. They cited no change to the status of al-Udeid Air Base.

The call with Qatar's emir showed Trump trying to personally involve himself in resolving the conflict. I won't name other countries, but we are not done solving the problem.

The Kuwaiti emir also went to the UAE and Qatar Wednesday for more consultations.

CNN and The Guardian have also reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes Russian hackers planted a false story about the emir of Qatar in recent weeks, potentially contributing to the crisis.