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Thursday, 21 February 2019

Trump meets Qatari emir, predicts quick end to crisis

AFP , Wednesday 20 Sep 2017
Donald Trump
U.S President Donald Trump waits for a meeting with Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the Palace Hotel in New York City, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. (photo:AFP)
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President Donald Trump predicted a rapid end to the diplomatic and economic standoff between Qatar and its neighbors Tuesday, during a meeting with the country's emir at UN headquarters.

"We are right now in a situation where we're trying to solve a problem in the Middle East and I think we'll get it solved," Trump said, describing Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani as a long-time friend.

"I have a very strong feeling that it will be solved pretty quickly."

For more than 100 days Qatar has been subject to a Saudi-led boycott that shuttered Qatar's only land border, denied air space to its national airline and suspended maritime links.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of bankrolling Islamist extremists and being too close to Iran.

The White House has been sympathetic to allegations that Doha has been too cozy with proscribed groups, but has been wary that Gulf disunity has only created an opening for Iran to expand its influence in the region.

The emir welcomed Trump's involvement. "As you said, Mr President, we have a problem with our neighbors and your interference will help a lot and I'm sure we can find a solution for this problem."

Earlier, he addressed the UN General Assembly, accusing his neighbors of terrorism and made a plea for dialogue.

"I stand here while my country and my people are subjected to a continuing and unjust blockade imposed since June 5th by neighboring countries," he said.

"It seems that those who planned and implemented it had envisaged that their move would cause a shocking and direct impact that will bring the State of Qatar to its knees and to capitulate to a total tutelage to be imposed on it," he said.

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