Trump says Gulf crisis can be 'solved pretty quickly'

US president and Qatari emir discuss Gulf diplomatic crisis on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

    Shortly after addressing the United Nations General Assembly, US President Donald Trump and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met in New York to discuss the Gulf's major diplomatic crisis.

    On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar and imposed a land, air and sea blockade on it, accusing Doha of supporting "terrorism". Qatar has strongly and repeatedly denied the allegation.

    The US president, who called the emir "a friend", said after Tuesday's meeting that he believed the dispute would be solved quickly.

    "We are right now in a situation where we are trying to solve a problem in the Middle East and I think we will get it solved. I have a very strong feeling that it will be solved pretty quickly," Trump told reporters. 

    READ MORE: Qatar-Gulf crisis - All the latest updates

    For his part, Sheikh Tamim said Washington and Doha had "a very strong relationship". Qatar is home to the largest US military base in the Middle East.

    The Qatari emir also said that he believed Trump's "interference will help a lot" in the dispute.

    "We have always said that we are open to dialogue and we will always be open to dialogue," he said.

    Trump had initially sided with the Saudi-led group and called Qatar a "funder of terrorism". Yet, some other US officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, adopted a more measured tone.

    Over the past few weeks, Trump has also worked to broker a way out of the dispute, and in his meeting with Sheikh Tamim made no mention of his past claim that Qatar was funding "terrorism".

    Earlier on Tuesday, Sheikh Tamim criticised the countries behind the blockade on Qatar in his address to the UN General Assembly.

    "The countries who imposed the blockade on the state of Qatar interfere in the internal affairs of many countries, and accuse all those who oppose them domestically and abroad with terrorism. By doing they are inflicting damage on the war on terror," he said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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