Trump Now Sees Qatar as an Ally Against Terrorism

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"If the president is going to exit the JCPOA [Iranian nuclear deal] and bring back America's toughest sanctions, Qatar needs to choose a side-and it better not be Iran's".

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A major twist in the Gulf crisis that has gripped the region over the past year appeared on Tuesday, when President Donald Trump welcomed the Qatar emir to the White House.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed ties with Qatar on June 5, officially accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region - charges which Qatar strongly denies.

Saudi Arabia and others have continued squeezing the country diplomatically and financially with a partial blockade, arguing those steps were wholly insufficient to address their long list of demands on Qatar, which included shutting down Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera. Qatar denies this and Washington wants to mediate a truce.

The meeting between the United States president and Qatar Emir Tamim al-Thani marks a major shift in the relationship between the two countries.

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Qatar's Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani can be on the White Home on Tuesday.

Saudi and Emirati officials have accused Thani's government of cozying up to Iran and funding terrorist groups.

President Donald Trump Tuesday applauded Qatar's efforts to stop funding terrorism, almost a year after accusing the Persian Gulf country of funding extremism at a "high level". Qatar denies that charge but has taken steps to address USA concerns. "We do not and we will not tolerate with people who fund terrorism".

President Trump says the US and Qatar are continuing to work closely on ensuring terrorism funding is halted in the Middle East, although he once accused the nation of Qatar of funding terrorism at a "high level." .

On the sidelines of the event, Sheikh Hamad al-Thani also said that "Qatar Taxi will pursue several strategic partnerships with ministries and authorities in addition to launching a wide range of offers to meet the needs of the society".

Information for this article was contributed by Ken Thomas of The Associated Press.

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