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Published: Wed, June 21, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Trump offers to host feuding Gulf nations at White House

Trump offers to host feuding Gulf nations at White House

President Donald Trump said he backed a Saudi Arabia-led movement to isolate Qatar over its funding of extremist groups, once again sending conflicting signals about the USA stance in a dispute between American allies in the Gulf region.

Qatar has historically "been a funder of terrorism at a very high level" and that has to stop, Trump said Friday at a White House news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. On Tuesday, Trump spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman.

"We have great confidence in the president's ability to calm this crisis and to resolve it", Al Thani said in an interview.

Qatar has forged regional alliances independently of its fellow GCC states, drawing accusations from Saudi Arabia and its allies of serving Iranian interests. They have imposed what Qatar says is a blockade of shipping and air traffic, and closed Qatar's only land border. "Open channels of communication means venues for conflict resolution", he said.

Tillerson struck a careful tone.

Qatar has backed Islamist movements but vehemently denies supporting terrorism.

Trump's broadside Tuesday against Qatar, which plays a major role in USA military efforts in the Mideast, arrived as an early-morning shock to US officials.

In an effort to show the president and the top US diplomat are literally on the same page despite the different tone they took throughout the week, the White House gave reporters a sheet juxtaposing quotes from Trump on the Qatar situation with similar comments from Tillerson.

That's according to a USA official who wasn't authorized to discuss the call publicly and requested anonymity.

"The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding - they have to end that funding - and its extremist ideology in terms of funding", Trump said.

That was enough, it seemed, to persuade Qatar the USA wasn't abandoning its strategic partner.

On Thursday night, Erdogan ratified two deals on deploying Turkish troops to Qatar and training its gendarmerie after they were passed by Turkey's parliament a day earlier.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced his support for Qatar, saying that the isolation of the oil-rich country is not in anyone's interest.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic relations with Qatar on Monday and gave its citizens 14 days to leave, accusing Doha of supporting extremism.

Earlier this week, Trump invited the emir of Qatar to the White House, telling the leader he would help resolve the dispute.

"This litany of subversive support, infringement, actions is huge but I would say the most serious is the extremists and terrorist angle", he said.

Other countries also are offering to intervene, and it's not clear if Trump will end up as the primary mediator.

Shi'ite Muslim Iran blamed Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia for the attack, which was claimed by the Sunni Islamic State militant group.

Jubeir declined to confirm a list of 10 demands published by Al Jazeera, which included shutting down the widely watched, Doha-based satellite network, but added that Qatar knew what it needed to do to restore normal relations. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that U.A.E. notified the US about the plan shortly before it went into effect.

A White House summit seemed an unlikely possibility.

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