Trump cheers Arab isolation of Qatar

news
06 June 2017

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said isolating Qatar was the 'beginning of end' of terrorism, clearly indicating that the concerted move by prominent Arab states had the blessing of the US.

Seven Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, the UAE and the Maldives severed all ties with gas-rich Qatar, accusing it of supporting groups, including some backed by Iran, "that aim to destabilise the region".

The biggest diplomatic standoff by bigger Arab nations against smaller Qatar could destabilise the country's economy and adversely affect Indian interests in the region.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, the UAE and the Maldives severed relations with gas- rich Qatar, accusing it of supporting groups, including some backed by Iran, "that aim to destabilise the region".

Qatar denied any support for extremists and accused its Gulf neighbours of seeking to put the country under "guardianship".

Trump also said leaders he met on his recent Middle East trip had warned him that Qatar was funding "radical ideology" after he had demanded they take action to stop financing militant groups.

"During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!" Trump tweeted.

The comments seem intriguing since Qatar is a US ally and hosts a US military base.

Trump's comments about the rift between Qatar and major Arab nations over alleged support of Iran and Islamist groups, which first appeared on Twitter, came ahead of a planned meeting of leaders of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to try to resolve the dispute.

Ordinary Qataris, however, were to be found crowding into supermarkets to stock up on goods against the crisis.

Gulf Arab officials said Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah will meet with Saudi Arabia's King Salman later in the day, hoping to heal the damaging rift which has affected global oil prices, hit travel plans and sown confusion among bankers and businesses in the region.

In fact, a number of banks in the region began stepping back from business dealings with Qatar. Saudi Arabia's central bank advised banks in the kingdom not to trade with Qatari banks in Qatari riyals, sources said.

Oil prices also fell on concern that the rift would undermine efforts by Opec to tighten production.





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