Donald Trump thanks Qatar for efforts to combat terrorism

Trump (above) called on Qatar in June to stop funding groups that commit terrorism.
Trump (above) called on Qatar in June to stop funding groups that commit terrorism.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump on Monday (Jan 15) thanked the ruler of Qatar for "action to counter terrorism and extremism in all forms," the White House said in a statement that suggested a warming of ties between the two countries.

In June, Trump had called on Qatar to stop funding groups that commit terrorism, saying the Gulf nation had historically done so "at a very high level."

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who along with Qatar are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, plus non-GCC member Egypt cut off diplomatic, travel and trade ties with Qatar last year, accusing it of supporting militants and their arch-foe Iran.

Qatar denies the charges and says their move is aimed at curtailing its sovereignty.

The White House statement on the call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani did not directly address the rift but said Trump "reiterated his support for a strong, united Gulf Cooperation Council that is focused on countering regional threats."

"The leaders discussed areas in which the United States and Qatar can partner to bring more stability to the region, counter malign Iranian influence, and defeat terrorism," it said.