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Trump slams Qatar for funding terror as Tillerson urges calm

21 June 2017

Saudi accusations against the Persian Gulf Arab monarchy of Qatar for supporting Islamist terror groups are highly hypocritical and express fake outrage because Riyadh does the same thing on a greater scale.

Qatar's ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait, which has maintained ties with Qatar, and made a decision to postpone the speech, the minister told Qatar-based Al Jazeera television.

Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah arrived in Dubai on Wednesday.

Trump urged more than 50 Muslim leaders at the gathering to "drive out" terrorists from their lands, which Gulf officials say helped embolden the move against Qatar this week.

The conflicting signals suggested Tillerson was playing "good cop" to Trump's tougher-talking "bad cop". Aircraft that fly out of Qatar - including fighter jets, drones and refueling planes - can be relocated to a number of other bases in the region including in Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait and Bahrain and off aircraft carriers, the officials said. They then sought to clean up the president's comments by stressing U.S. -Qatari cooperation remained intact and crediting the country with working hard to stem funding and support for extremists. The State Department had said the USA learned only at the last minute about the Arab nations' plan to cut ties.

The crisis has thrust the USA into a delicate position because of its alliances with all sides - and because Qatar hosts the nerve center for US air operations in the Middle East, including the fight against Islamic State.

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Gargash said the UAE wanted to see action taken against individuals living openly in Qatar despite being classified as supporters of terrorism by the United States and United Nations.

Countries across the globe are increasingly faced with the same conundrum: How much credence to give to the president's Twitter musings when they deviate sharply from US policy?

Turkey established a military base in Qatar in 2014. "But what the position of the United States of America... is something I can't really say".

Both Qatar and the USA sought to show the rift wasn't affecting military cooperation. But the official added that Trump has a good relationship with the emir and would like to leverage it to resolve the situation. Trump said the nations that imposed the blockade - including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates -- came to him in the wake of his conference in the region to discuss "confronting Qatar over its behavior". He said other countries, which he didn't name, must also continue to eliminate support for violent organizations.

In the interview, Al Thani confirmed the Federal Bureau of Investigation is helping Qatar investigate a hack of its state-run news agency last month that may have been a catalyst for the crisis.

Al Thani also denied any Qatari involvement in a separate hack of emails belonging to the UAE's Washington ambassador, which have surfaced at various news agencies this week.

Trump slams Qatar for funding terror as Tillerson urges calm