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Trump U-turns on Qatar criticism

Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani (L) and US President Donald Trump (R) during their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, United States on 10 April 2018. [Qatar News Agency/Handout]
Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani (L) and US President Donald Trump (R) during their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, United States on 10 April 2018. [Qatar News Agency/Handout]

US President Donald Trump yesterday reversed his criticism of Qatar for funding terrorism, claiming that Doha was unfairly maligned by Gulf States, US News reported.

"You've now become a very big advocate, and we appreciate it," Trump told Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani. "A lot of countries were funding terrorism and we're stopping it. It's getting stopped and fast — very important."

Trump went on to call out Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over terrorism and extremism related funding in the past. In June last year, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain accused Qatar of supporting extremism and terrorism, allegations Qatar categorically denies.

"I want to make something very clear, Mr. President," the Qatari Emir said. "We do not and we will not tolerate with people who fund terrorism. We've been cooperating with the United States of America to stop funding terrorism around the region."

READ: Saudi Arabia to set up military base on Salwa border with Qatar

Nearly one year on since the blockade, Qatar has fought tooth and nail to ensure its country is up and running as normal. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month claimed in its preliminary report that the impact of the Gulf rift is "fading".

Earlier this month, Bahrain announced that it will not be seeking reconciliation with Qatar. No other neutral party has come forward to mediate the Gulf-rift, despite several claims to the United Nations over air space violations by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The US this week approved a possible $300 million weapons sale to Qatar of 5,000 advanced prevision weapon systems, along with related equipment.

Amid political and security threats posed to Qatar, authorities increased national military service from four months to one year and women were told that they can join the army on a voluntary basis.

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