Trump takes sides in Arab rift, suggests support for isolation of Qatar

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other states which cut off Qatar say Doha's policies have supported the funding of terrorism as well as "extremist" groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Shi'ite rebel groups fomenting unrest in the region that are backed by Iran.

The American president on Tuesday held a phone call with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in which they discussed fight against terror financing and extremism, according a White House statement.

"Our general stance as a nation has been that these things ebb and flow and they come up from time to time, but we've worked with all the countries", Corker said.

Sources at the Energy Ministry and industry officials say the move is seen as short-term shipping disruption since Qatar could use other ports to deliver oil and gas to the clients.

That's exactly how Qatar planned it - perhaps Qatar's greatest leverage in its ongoing dispute both with Trump and its larger Gulf neighbors.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are getting "no US pushback" on human rights or on the Yemen intervention, he said, while "Egypt also feels off the hook with Trump, and is using the opportunity to fix ties with the Saudis, reinforce with the Emiratis and be more assertive in Libya".

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Jamie Donaldson of Wales, who had led by two strokes on Friday, carded a two-over 75 and ended up three strokes behind Wood. Rickie Fowler was among them, salvaging a two-under 70 after a poor start with a triple-bogey seven at the second.

Trump's tweets raise questions about whether he either implictly or actively encouraged Saudi Arabia and the UAE to isolate Qatar during his trip to Riyadh two weeks ago, said Helima Croft, global head of commodities strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said he has always been familiar with Qatari leadership, said Tuesday at a press conference in New Zealand that there are a number of issues that have led to the frustration among regional leaders and the ultimate decisions to cut diplomatic ties with Doha.

Mediation efforts intensified on Tuesday, with Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah travelling to Saudi Arabia for talks to defuse the crisis.

At a separate briefing, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said the USA recognises that Qatar has made some great efforts to try to stop financing of terror groups, including prosecuting suspected financiers, freezing assets, and introducing stringent controls on its banking system there.

Qatar Airways, one of the region's major long-haul carriers, has suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain until further notice.

Qatar's leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait and, in order to allow Kuwait to mediate, chose to put off a planned speech to the nation, the Minister said.

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We are greater together than apart. "When people speak of Nigeria and respect this country, it is because of the diversity; because of the strength in numbers".

Qatar's neighbors have long accused the country of tolerating or even encouraging support for extremist groups, including al-Qaida's Syria branch - all of which Qatar denies. French President Emmanuel Macron had recently named Le Drian Minster for Europe and Foreign Affairs. As the forward headquarters of US Central Command, it is seen as crucial in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group. In light of the isolation event, however, the recent efforts to strengthen ties with between the two countries will probably now be put on the back burner.

FIFA, soccer's world governing body, has said it remains in regular contact with Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said the ban took effect Tuesday, but there is no plan yet to repatriate the more than 200,000 Filipino workers in Qatar. But analyst Saeed Wahabi said Qatar has been unwilling to enforce restrictions on terror financing and partner with the USA on counter terrorism the way Saudi Arabia has.

The deal, which was concluded in April, heightened concerns among Qatar's neighbours about the small gas-rich state's role in a region plagued by conflict and bitter rivalries.

Fellow Gulf states are also reported to have been angered by a huge ransom paid by Doha earlier this year to secure the release of a hunting party, which included members of the Qatari royal family, kidnapped in southern Iraq.

The ransom, which Iraqi officials said was in the "hundreds of millions of dollars", was believed to have been paid to militias with close ties to Tehran.

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