As the diplomatic row between Qatar and its neighbours continues, US President Donald Trump has accused Doha of “historically” funding terrorism and spreading hate.
“Stop funding (terrorism). Stop teaching hate. Stop the killing,” Trump said in a joint news conference with the visiting Romanian President Klaus Johannis at the White House.
“The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level. And in the wake of that conference, nations came together and spoke to me about confronting Qatar over its behaviour…So we had a decision to make: Do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard but necessary action? We have to stop the funding of terrorism. I decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals and military people, the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding — they have to end that funding — and its extremist ideology in terms of funding,” said the US President.
Trump’s comments came after his top diplomat Rex Tillerson appealed to Saudi Arabia and its regional allies to ease their blockade against Qatar. The US said the blockade was hindering the US military in their fight against the Islamic State in the region.
“We support the emir of Kuwait’s efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to this agreement, and progress toward eliminating all forms of support for terrorism — military, financial, moral or ideological. Yes, we’ll support these mediation efforts, along with the emir of Kuwait”, Tillerson had said.
Interestingly, the biggest US air base in the Middle East is in Qatar and around 10,000 personnel work there in support of several allied operations in Iraq, Syria and around the region.
Earlier this week, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar, accusing their former Gulf Cooperation Council ally of supporting extremist groups.
(With inputs from PTI)