Trump accuses Qatar of funding terror 'at a very high level'

Carla Harmon
June 9, 2017

Closing all transport links with Qatar, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt banned Qatari planes from landing and forbade them from crossing their air space. "At the same time, Qatar and its capability should not be underestimated, especially its financial capacities, its accumulated reserves and relations with other countries, first of all Turkey and Iran", Lukyanov pointed out.

President Donald Trump is bringing "reality to the situation" in the Middle East by backing a Saudi-led coalition's tough stance against neighboring Qatar, said Sadad al-Husseini, a former executive at Saudi Arabia's state oil company.

UAE officials said Qatar needed to end its support for terrorist groups, a claim the Gulf state strongly denies. On Wednesday, Mauritania became the latest country to cut diplomatic relations, with a statement from the Foreign Ministry accusing Qatar of having connections to terrorist organizations.

Trump's comments were made despite the fact that Qatar is home to the largest USA military base in the Middle East, with at least 8,000 United States personnel based in the country.

Meanwhile, UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said in an interview, "We have now reached a cul-de-sac in terms of trying to convince Qatar to change course".

In a phone call with the Qatari Emir, Trump extended an olive branch, offering to help the parties resolve their differences by inviting them to a White House meeting if necessary.

S&P Global, the worldwide ratings agency, reduced Qatar's credit rating to AA- from AA on Wednesday in the latest fallout from the decision by a group of Middle Eastern countries to cut diplomatic and trade ties, media reports said.

Saudi Arabia has also closed off Qatar's only land border, a crucial lifeline for food imports.

Al-Jazeera offices have been shut down by authorities in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. "Of course, this sparked tensions with its neighbors", Lukyanov said.

But Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman al-Than said there was "no evidence that the Qatar government is supporting radical Islamists".

The council includes Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.

Other reports by iNewsToday