Four Arab states – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – severed diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting “extremism” and aligning with their regional rival Iran – charges that Qatar has repeatedly denied.
Reconciliation between Qatar and its neighbours is becoming increasingly hard, with the peninsular state seemingly unwilling to back down or concede accusations that it supports terrorism.
“The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level”, Trump said in a speech at the White House.
The US Congress previously approved a sale of as many as 72 F-15s to Qatar in a deal valued at $15 billion, long before the Gulf countries spat with its neighbours Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain. It also harbored a number of leaders from the Palestinian terror organization Hamas, as well as controversial characters such as the Egyptian religious scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, considered by many to be the guiding spirit of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Washington has called on Qatar to carry out a series of steps to achieve change in its political policies.
Calling Doha an “ally” in the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jubeir said there was no intention of harming the Qatari people. “Qatar has to be brought around, put out of business or absorbed”.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cancelled a trip to Mexico to try to resolve the crisis.
“Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari conveyed the message, during a meeting with the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani today”, it added, Qatar’s official news agency reported.
“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off”, Trump said, claiming partial victory for Saudi Arabia’s decision.
Qatar’s refusal to capitulate could delay Saudi Arabia’s regional plans, particularly if Qatar allies such as Turkey step in to broker an agreement.