Sunday, 20 August, 2017

Trump offers to host feuding Gulf nations at White House

Trump offers to host feuding Gulf nations at White House Saudi finance minister says 'brother state' Qatar must act to end crisis
Melinda Barton | 20 June, 2017, 03:08

"I decided, along with secretary of state Rex Tillerson.the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding.and its extremist ideology in terms of funding".

Trump's new tone echoed that of his secretaries of Defense and State, who emphasized Tuesday the need for Gulf unity and the importance of the U.S. partnership with Qatar, home to the Al Udeid Air Base, the main regional center for air missions against ISIS.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut diplomatic ties and traffic links with Doha Monday, after accusing Doha of sponsoring terrorism. "There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade".

On Friday, Tillerson said the blockade has caused shortages of food, the separation of families and other "unintended consequences".

Qatar is home to both Al Jazeera and the region's largest U.S. military airbase - which is now the strategic nerve center of the United States air campaign against ISIS. The base houses almost 10,000 U.S. troops and is the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command. The blockade is hindering US military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS.

The U.S.is carrying out military action in the region in its campaign against ISIS from the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Still, the Pentagon has been developing contingency plans in case there's any interruption, defense officials said.

Qatar is home to the biggest American air base in the region. "The recent joint statement issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE regarding a "terror finance watch list" once again reinforces baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact", read a statement from Qatar's government.

"They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar".

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ratified two deals allowing Turkish troops' deployment to Qatar and training the Gulf nation's gendarmerie, according to the presidency.

"The investigation team confirmed that the hack was carried out using innovative technological methods by exploiting an electronic gap on the website of the Qatar News Agency", the report said.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump appeared to take credit for the diplomatic and economic blockade imposed on Qatar by fellow Gulf states.

"We know you are stronger together", Tillerson said of the nations.

"I want to call on all other nations to stop immediately supporting terrorism", Trump said.

The Arab countries aren't just recalling diplomats; they're also closing airspace to Qatar and restricting access by sea.

Qatar, which has developed an assertive foreign policy over the past decade, denies that it supports militants and says it is helping to reduce the threat of terrorism by backing groups that fight poverty and seek political reform. "But he must do more and he must do more quickly".

Federal Bureau of Investigation experts visited Qatar in late May to analyse an alleged cyber breach that saw the hackers place the fake story with Qatar's state news agency, the U.S. broadcaster said.