US President Donald Trump has called on Saudi King Salman and “all the parties in the Qatar dispute” to find a diplomatic solution to the regional standoff, according to the White House.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates cut their diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the region.
The Saudi-led bloc has also imposed sanctions against the tiny Persian Gulf country, including restrictions on Qatari aircraft using their airspace. Qatar’s only land border with Saudi Arabia has only been blocked as a result.
In a phone conversation on Wednesday, Trump told the Saudi monarch that a diplomatic resolution was necessary in order to fulfill a commitment Washington and its regional allies had made to stay united while fighting terror, the White House said in statement.
Meanwhile, experts have touted the Qatar crisis as the fallout of Trump’s visit to Riyadh in early June. Even Trump himself pointed this out in a tweet during the conflict’s early days.
“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” Trump wrote on June 6. “Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said before the visit that it was aimed at getting Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations in the region to stand in “unity” with Israel and confront Iran.
This might explain the sudden push to isolate Doha, under the pretext that it has close ties with Iran as well as the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.
Trump’s siding with Saudis became more apparent on June 8, when the White House said he had talked to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, asking him to help “prevent the financing of terrorist organizations and stop the promotion of extremist ideology.”
Now, however, it seems that the White House is running out of patience with Saudi Arabia over its refusal to resolve the crisis.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Wednesday that Riyadh and its regional allies had ignored “on at least 12 different occasions” calls by Qatar for talks on resolving the impasse.
The immense pressure seems to have failed to bring Qatar to its knees, as the country has strengthened ties with Iran and other regional players like Turkey.