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The New Arab

Trump ready to meet Qatari Emir amid Gulf tensions

Donald Trump and Sheikh Tamim al-Thani spoke via telephone on Wednesday [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 June, 2017

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After a telephone call with Qatar's Emir, Donald Trump has allegedly agreed to a possible White House meeting to calm ongoing tensions between the Arab states.

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US President Donald Trump has allegedly agreed to a possible White House meeting with the Emir of Qatar, reports suggest, after a telephone call with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Wednesday afternoon.

Trump telephoned the Qatari leader in an apparent effort to calm ongoing escalations between the Gulf state and its neighbours and discuss the recent tensions, The New Arab learned.

Sheikh Tamim reaffirmed Qatar's readiness "to discuss all points of contention but rejects the threat and siege."

Trump's contact with Qatar's Emir follows a phone call by King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz on Tuesday evening that ended with Trump stressing the need to preserve the unity of the Gulf states.

Speaking to the monarch, Trump said that a united Gulf Cooperation Council is "critical to defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability," according to a White House readout.

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

The US president's measured response marks a change of tone from earlier in the day, when he appeared to side with Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar in a series of tweets that seemed to endorse Riyadh's allegation that Doha is funding terror groups.

The tweets also cast the anti-Qatar action as the outcome of Trump visit to Riyadh and other Middle Eastern capitals in May.

Trump said he told Middle Eastern leaders that "radical ideology" cannot be tolerated, to which "leaders pointed to Qatar".

"They said they would take a hard line on funding […] extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" He tweeted, claiming that his visit to the Middle East was "already paying off".

The president's words contradicted the line pushed by US diplomats, who were calling for the conflicting parties to resolve their dispute.

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