Topsy-turvy world of United States diplomacy in age of Trump

Posted June 11, 2017

DOHA, Qatar (AP) - Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have signaled they may allow some Qataris to stay in their countries amid a diplomatic rift with the Gulf nation.

"Diplomacy only way forward". On Saturday he was in Moscow to see Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a day after visiting Germany and Brussels.

"Qatar is accused of having a hidden relationship with Iran, but its relations with Iran are clear, transparent and time-tested", said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, noting that the UAE does more trade with Iran than Qatar does.

Turkey is Doha's closest ally and, having increased food and water exports to Qatar, is now fast-tracking plans to send troops to its permanent base in the country.

He said Qatar remained committed to a Kuwaiti-led mediation effort, but that he had yet to receive a clear list of demands.

Minister of State tweeted on Saturday that the sanctions against Qatar are to urge the latter "to stop support and finance of extremism and terrorism".

However, mixed messages from United States officials appeared to complicate the diplomacy, as Gulf media cited selectively from divergent statements to bolster their positions.

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Authorities in the two countries have set up hot lines to review cases, according to statements carried by the Saudi Press Agency and Bahrain's News Agency.

Trump's remarks came shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia and its allies to ease their land and sea "blockade against Qatar".

Last summer, Barcelona's fan base called for the club to cut ties with Gulf state Qatar, which included a petition signed by over 60,000 people.

The UAE ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, welcomed Mr Trump's comments, saying "the president is absolutely right, stopping funding for extremism means starting with Qatar".

Trump said he helped plan the move against Qatar, although a senior administration official told Reuters earlier this week that the US had no indication from the Saudis or Emiratis during the visit that they would sever ties with Qatar.

Mr. Tillerson had called upon Saudi Arabia and other countries to lift the blockade they have imposed on Qatar as it was creating a humanitarian crisis besides impeding American-led military operation against the Islamic State in the region.