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Qatar emir to meet Trump in Washington amid rising Gulf tensions

Sheikh Tamim has kept close ties with the US despite divergent approaches to Iran [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 June, 2019

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Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani will visit Washington next month for talks focusing on security cooperation, as the US aims to mount pressure on Iran.

Qatar's leader, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, will meet with US President Donald Trump in Washington next month as the country continues to endure the now two-year economic blockade from its Gulf Arab rivals, the White House announced on Friday.

The emir will meet Trump on July 9 for talks on regional politics, security and counterterrorism cooperation, according to the announcement, amid a US effort to build pressure on Gulf power Iran.

"The visit will build on the longstanding partnership between the United States and Qatar and further strengthen our already substantial economic and security ties," the White House said.

Washington has sought to keep up relations with Qatar, where one of its largest overseas military base is located.

Read more: Two years on, Qatar has beaten the Saudi-led blockade

For two years Saudi Arabia and its allies the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have barred Qatari flights from their airports and airspace, banned most Qatari visitors, cut trade and shipping links, and closed their borders, unhappy about Doha conducting its own independent and ambitious programme of regional relations.

Washington was less than enthusiastic about the blockade imposed on Qatar, whose military base houses the forward headquarters of the US Central Command, which oversees the Pentagon's dealings across the Middle East including major operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Qatar is also slated to take part in the June 25-26 Bahrain conference on the Trump administration's Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative where Washington hopes to raise financial pledges to support the Palestinian economy.

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