U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman amid a growing crisis between GCC states over allegations that Qatar is funding terrorism and extremist activities.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and three other states have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, threatening a socio-economic crisis for what Saudi Arabia’s leaders only recently called a brotherly state. Just months ago, King Salman visited Qatar and performed a dance with Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The move also comes two weeks after President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia to herald GCC unity.
Earlier yesterday, in a series of tweets, Donald Trump said the Saudis’ move to isolate Qatar could mark the “beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism,” a comment that has confused his own State Department and not improved efforts to calm the situation.
However, in his call to King Salman, President Trump reportedly stressed unity among the GCC states.
“His [Mr Trump’s] message was that we need unity in the region to fight extremist ideology and terrorist financing,” a US official told Reuters, as reported by the BBC.
Qatar strongly denies supporting radical Islamism, and has expressed its willingness to negotiate toward a resolution. The rift has affected oil prices, travel and shipping, and has raised fears of food shortages. Qatar’s only land border is with Saudi Arabia.