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The New Arab

Donald Trump calls for Gulf unity amid Qatar row

The president's tweets contradicted US diplomats' calls for a resolution [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 June, 2017

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US president says the GCC is crucial to fighting terror and promoting regional stability after appearing to take Saudi Arabia's side against Qatar in a series of tweets.

US President Donald Trump has called for unity among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council on Tuesday in a conversation with Saudi Arabia's King Salman about the ongoing Qatar diplomatic rift.

Speaking to the monarch, Trump said that a united Gulf Cooperation Council is "critical to defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability," according to a White House readout.

The GCC includes Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.

The president's measured response marks a change of tone from earlier in the day, when he appeared to side with Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar in a series of tweets that seemed to endorse Riyadh's allegation that Doha is funding terror groups.

Read more: Qatar diplomatic crisis again reveals Trump's incoherent Twitter policymaking

The tweets also cast the anti-Qatar action as the outcome of Trump visit to Riyadh and other Middle Eastern capitals in May.

Trump said he told Middle Eastern leaders that "radical ideology" cannot be tolerated, to which "leaders pointed to Qatar".

"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!" He tweeted, claiming that his visit to the Middle East was "already paying off".

The president's words contradicted the line pushed by US diplomats, who were calling for the conflicting parties to reslove their dispute.

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