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Trump reverses course in Qatar call

09 June 2017

The diplomatic crisis, however, came less than two weeks after state Qatar News Agency (QNA) released a statement by Emir Al-Thani who called Iran an "Islamic power", which Qatar later said was "fake" as QNA's website had been "hacked".

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Wednesday Gulf states could resolve a row with Qatar amongst themselves without outside help.

Trump's tweet appeared at odds with comments from US officials who had said on Monday that the United States would quietly try to calm the waters between Saudi Arabia and Qatar because Qatar is too important to USA military and diplomatic interests to be isolated.

Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to discuss the situation.

Qatar vowed on Thursday to ride out the isolation imposed on it by fellow Arab states over its alleged support for terrorism and said it would not compromise its sovereignty over foreign policy to resolve the region's biggest diplomatic crisis in years.

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The announcement increases pressure on Qatar in a diplomatic and economic campaign to isolate the small Gulf Arab state, which is a critical global supplier of gas and hosts the biggest USA military base in the Middle East.

"We believe this will exacerbate Qatar's external vulnerabilities and could put pressure on economic growth and fiscal metrics", the ratings agency said.

Moscow, meanwhile, dismissed allegations that Russian hackers helped spark the diplomatic crisis, after CNN reported that United States officials believed they had planted a false news story.

Qatar vehemently denies the accusations.

He says Qatar will need to close or limit its Al-Jazeera news network and stop funding extremists groups to end the crisis.

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The Saudi newspaper al Watan published what it called a list of eight "extremist organisations" seen as working to destabilise the region from Qatar, including Qatar's Al Jazeera news channel, that were targeted by Gulf Arab states.

The rift has affected global oil prices, hit travel plans and sown confusion among businesses. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was also ready to support diplomatic efforts "if desired by all parties", his spokesman said. The report included comments from the Qatari ruler, which seemed friendly to Israel and Iran, and cast doubt on how long Mr Trump would remain in office.

Bans on Doha's fleet using regional ports and anchorages threatened to halt some of its exports and disrupt those of liquefied natural gas.

The West African nations of Senegal and Mauritania have joined have severed their diplomatic relations with Qatar in expression of solidarity with the four Gulf countries that cut ties.

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