Arab states in row with Qatar laud Trump's supportive stance

On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had never known Qatar to support terrorist groups and called for the blockade to be fully lifted.

Al-Thani, during a visit to Russian Federation to discuss the crisis, said: "The US sees Hamas as a terror organization, but to the rest of the Arab nations it is a legitimate resistance movement".

Only an hour later, Tillerson sat in the front row in the Rose Garden as Trump enthusiastically embraced the move by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others to punish Qatar. But Trump said that he, Tillerson and military leaders had decided during Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia last month that a public rebuke was needed. He said families were being separated, children removed from school and Qataris forced to deal with food shortages.

He said the blockade was "impairing U.S. and other worldwide business activities in the region" and that the U.S. backed mediation efforts being pursued by Kuwait. Davis said the diplomatic rift has not interrupted or curtailed operations at al-Udeid air base, a launching pad for USA military efforts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

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On Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that to rebuild relations, Doha must cut its support for "extremist" groups, including Hamas. The tiny island-nation of Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf, similarly said it "praised the statement made by President Donald Trump". The Qatari Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

After severing ties with Qatar on Monday, Saudi Arabia said it was committed to "decisive and swift action to cut off all funding sources for terrorism" in a statement carried by state news agency SPA, attributed to "an official source".

But it has fallen out with its Arab neighbors, who accuse it of sponsoring extremist groups, some of them allegedly linked to arch Saudi foe Iran, fomenting trouble across the region.

Qatar is home to the largest U.S. airbase in the Middle East, making it a key ally in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

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On Saturday, Niger announced it had recalled its ambassador to Qatar in solidarity with Arab countries.

On Friday the two countries imposed sanctions on 59 individuals and a dozen organisations based in Qatar for financial ties to Islamist militias from Libya to Yemen, as well as Al Qaeda.

Erdogan said isolating Qatar would not resolve any regional problems and vowed to do everything in his power to help end the regional crisis.

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