Trump discusses ‘concerns’ over Qatar crisis in calls to Gulf leaders
:: President Donald Trump spoke separately to the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar on Sunday to discuss his “concerns about the ongoing dispute” between Qatar and its Gulf and Arab neighbors, the White House said.
“He reiterated the importance of stopping terrorist financing and discrediting extremist ideology. The president also underscored that unity in the region is critical to accomplishing the Riyadh Summit’s goals of defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability,” the White House said, according to Reuters news agency.
“President Trump, nevertheless, believes that the overriding objective of his initiative is the cessation of funding for terrorism,” it said.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt broke off the ties last month over allegations of Qatar’s links to terrorism.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani is set to hand over Doha’s decision over a list of demands from boycotting countries to Kuwait on Monday, according to Al Arabiya sources.
Speaking in Rome on Saturday, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the demands were made to be rejected, adding that the Arab ultimatum was aimed not at tackling terrorism but at curtailing his country’s sovereignty.
But he told reporters in Rome that Doha remained ready to sit down and discuss the grievances raised by its Arab neighbors.
“This list of demands is made to be rejected. It’s not meant to be accepted or …to be negotiated,” Sheikh Mohammed said in Rome. “The state of Qatar instead of rejecting it as a principle, we are willing to engage in (dialogue), providing the proper conditions for further dialogue.”
The countries have threatened further sanctions against Qatar if it does not comply with their list of 13 demands which were presented to Doha by Kuwaiti mediators 11 days ago.
The demands include closing a Turkish military base in Qatar and shutting down the Al Jazeera pan-Arab television network, which Doha also rejected.
Qatar’s Gulf critics accuse Al Jazeera of being a platform for extremists and an agent of interference in their affairs. The network has rejected the accusations and said it will maintain its editorial independence.