Trump to host Qatar's emir later this month

#GulfTensions

US President Donald Trump has taken a hard line towards Qatar, accusing it of funding terrorism

White House says Trump will host Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani later this month (AFP)
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Last update: 
Friday 6 April 2018 2:56 UTC
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The White House said on Thursday that President Donald Trump would host Qatar's emir at the White House later this month, hoping to end a spat that has riven America's Gulf allies.

In a statement, the White House said the meeting with Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani would take place on 10 April. 

"The President looks forward to discussing ways to strengthen ties between the United States and Qatar and to advance our common security and economic priorities."

Trump had previously talked about hosting a summit of Gulf leaders to ease a crisis that has seen Qatar put under a virtual blockade by neighbours including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

That plan now appears to have been delayed in favour of a bilateral meeting between the US and Qatari leaders.

Trump had taken a hard line against Qatar, saying the country needed to scale back ties with Iran and stop funding extremism.

Aides - mindful of the pivotal role that the Al-Udeid Air Base outside Doha plays in US Middle East operations - have since convinced him to take a more moderate approach.

The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, imposed travel, diplomatic and trade sanctions on Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting militants.

Qatar denies the charge and has accused the four countries of trying to make it conform to their foreign policy positions.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia issued a list of demands to lift the blockade - which include Qatar cutting ties with Iran and shutting down state-funded broadcaster Al-Jazeera. The boycotting countries have thus far refused to soften their stance.

Qatar has repeatedly reached out to Washington to mediate in the crisis but the attempts have failed so far.

Recently, Trump, who has previously accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism, sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had publicly defended Qatar and pressured Trump to moderate his stance.

Tillerson's sacking came ahead of a new diplomatic push to help mediate the dispute among America's Gulf allies.