President Donald Trump has claimed credit for the isolation of Qatar by its Gulf neighbors who accuse it of supporting terrorism in the region.
The president said his recent visit to Saudi Arabia was “already paying off” and the development might mark the “beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism”.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives have all cut diplomatic and other ties with Qatar.
Qatar strongly denies the allegations.
President Trump’s recent speech in Riyadh, in which he blamed Iran for instability in the Middle East and urged Muslim countries to take the lead in combating radicalization, is seen as likely to have emboldened Gulf allies to act against Qatar.
He tweeted on June 6: “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!”
The president later added: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding… extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”
Qatar is home to the biggest US military air base in the Middle East, with about 8,000 personnel based at al-Udeid.
The official statement from White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the US was in communication with all parties “to resolve issues and restore co-operation”.
In the same week as Donald Trump’s Riyadh speech, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE blocked Qatari news sites, including Al Jazeera.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE gave Qatari nationals two weeks to leave, banned their own citizens from traveling to Qatar, and cut all transport links.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on June 6 that the economic measures should persuade Qatar to change its policies and behave “like a normal country”.
Speaking in Paris, he called on Qatar’s rulers to end their support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian militant group Hamas and what he called “hostile media”.
“We believe that common sense and logic and will convince Qatar to take the right steps,” Adel al-Jubeir said.
The emir of Kuwait – one of the Gulf countries not involved in the dispute – traveled to Saudi Arabia on June 6 in an attempt to mediate. He later left after a “brotherly visit” but there was no word on the outcome of the talks.