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Trump tells Qatar to stop funding terror

18 Juin 2017

With Trump offering to help resolve the crisis, possibly with a meeting at the White House, the United Arab Emirates cut postal links to Qatar, and close Saudi ally Bahrain reiterated a demand that Doha distance itself from regional foe Iran.

In an interview with BBC radio, UAE Ambassador to Russia Omar Saif Ghobash said Qatar had to choose between supporting extremism or supporting its neighbours.

"No more funding", Trump said.

President Donald Trump accused Qatar on Friday of funding terrorism "at a very high level", and said solving the problem in the tiny Persian Gulf nation could be "the beginning of the end of terrorism".

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and several other countries cut their ties with Doha on Monday in part because of the comments briefly posted on the Qatar News Agency.

"The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding", Trump said.

"Turkish troops are coming to Qatar for the sake of the securıty of the entire region", Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the press on Thursday, as cited by Hurriyet.

Trump's condemnation of Qatar deviated sharply from the message delivered by his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who only an hour earlier had called on Arab nations to ease their blockade on Qatar and had credited the kingdom with progress in curbing terror funding. "We need to put everything in check". All that comes amid a crackdown on all dissent on the island home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and an under-construction British naval base.

"I have never seen Qatari citizens stocking up on frozen chicken and long-life milks", said Anup Manoj, an Indian man who works as a cleaner in Doha's City Center Mall, where many shops no longer stock milk packaged by Saudi Arabia's Almarai Co, the most affordable kind of milk in Qatar.

"This list is connected to the members and entities that serve suspicious agendas of Qatar and in an indication of the duality of Qatar policies that announced fighting terrorism from one side, and funds and shelters different terrorist organizations from another side", the four Arab powers said.

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

The Qatari ambassador to Washington, Meshal Hamad al-Thani, wrote on Twitter that a key pillar of Doha's foreign policy was mediation.

But a diplomat in Kuwait briefed by foreign ministry officials said the emir's diplomacy had been about damage control and had yet to produce tangible results, with personality clashes playing a big role in the impasse.

Al-Jazeera's offices have been shut down by authorities in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The foreign minister of Oman met Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Kuwait's ruler, for talks.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Gulf states could resolve the dispute among themselves without outside help.

Throughout the interview, Sheikh Mohammed repeatedly denied that Qatar funded extremists and terrorist groups, the main reason given for this week's moves against it.

Qatar has backed Islamist movements but vehemently denies supporting terrorism.

Regional tensions have been aggravated by the worst dispute among Gulf Arabs for two decades and were ratcheted up further on Wednesday after militants attacked targets in Tehran, killing at least 12 people.

Trump tells Qatar to stop funding terror