United States President Donald Trump recently blamed Qatar for sponsoring terrorism. Speaking with the reporters at the White House, Trump said “the nation of Qatar unfortunately has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level— the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding.”
Trump also said that he assisted in preparing the Qatar action with Arab leaders following a recent summit in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia and U.A.E along with some other gulf countries have cut ties with Qatar. The crisis is an important diplomatic test for the United States. Trump administration hasn’t openly revealed its position on whether to isolate Qatar or bring it into discussions.
The conflict in the region has intensified as Arab states increased pressure on Qatar by accusing the country of sponsoring several terrorist organizations.
On the other hand, the world’s richest country has refused allegations of funding militant groups and said it was making efforts to limit the terrorism threats by supporting groups that fight poverty. Foreign Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani called the steps by Arab neighbors are clear breach of international humanitarian law. He said “they will not have a positive impact on the region but a negative one”
The U.S. Department of State is trying to ease tensions, as the blockade is hampering U.S. ability for a long-term operation in the region. Over 11,000 U.S. and coalition forces are residing in Al Udeid Air Base located in Qatar. It is the biggest base of U.S. Air Force in the region and is critical for fighting Islamic State.
United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson said “we call on the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar.” He expects all parties to reach a settlement.
Speaking to reports at the State Department, Tillerson added that the crisis has started affecting common people in Qatar and harming business dealings as well as hurting U.S. fight against the Islamic State militants.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their allies have blamed Qatar of backing militant Islamist movements in the region. They have blocked air traffic, shipping and only land border with Qatar that has resulted in shortage of daily food items at supermarkets in the country.
U.A.E said that Qatar must admit concerns regarding its troubling support for extremism and should revise its regional policies.
Qatar has a population of 2.7 million but just a fraction of them, around 0.3 million, are citizens. The rest of the population includes foreigners, who have been offering their services in different projects, including oil and gas, construction and football stadiums for the 2022 World Cup.