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Trump claims credit for Qatar isolation

Washington, Tuesday

US President Donald Trump has claimed credit for the pressure being placed on Qatar by Gulf neighbours who accuse it of supporting terrorism in the region.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives have all cut diplomatic and other ties with Qatar over backing extremism.

Trump said he was told during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia that Qatar was funding “radical ideology”. He added that the visit was “already paying off”.

Analysts say the timing of the move, two weeks after a visit to Saudi Arabia by Trump, is crucial. Trump’s speech in the Saudi capital Riyadh, in which he blamed Iran for instability in the Middle East and urged Muslim countries to take the lead in combating radicalisation, is seen as likely to have emboldened Gulf allies to act against Qatar.

“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 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken to key players in the dispute between Qatar and neighbouring Gulf Arab countries in efforts to find a solution, his spokesman said.

Erdogan “has initiated diplomatic efforts to resolve this dispute between friends and brothers in line with the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan,” spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement.

Erdogan has not yet commented on the crisis. But deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus said that Erdogan had already been in contact with several key players.

He spoke by phone with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. -BBC/AFP

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