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Trump welcomes Qatari Emir in from the cold

AFP  |  Washington 

US welcomed the of to the White House, barely one year after alleging his government funded terrorism at a "high level." Drawing a line under a spat that called into question the future of a key US air base in the Gulf State, Trump hosted bin Hamad Al-Thani in the Oval Office.

"He's a friend of mine" Trump said effusively. "He's a great gentleman." And a readout of the meeting issued later by the said "the leaders discussed joint efforts to finalize new commercial deals that would create more than 50,000 American jobs" in addition to discussing and "Iranian and Russian malign influence" there.

It did not elaborate on the nature of the commercial ventures.

A year ago the picture was very different. Trump had followed the lead of and the in taking a hard line against Qatar, saying the country needed to scale back ties with and stop funding extremism.

Qatar's neighbors had also been infuriated by its willingness to host dissidents from across the Gulf and to allow broadcasts critical of them by Doha-based Al Jazeera.

Trump had initially supported an economic blockade on Qatar, but aides -- mindful of the pivotal role that the outside plays in US operations -- have since convinced him to take a more moderate approach.

The said Trump "has been very helpful in supporting us during this blockade," and thanked the American people for being "very supportive." "We do not and we will not tolerate people who fund terrorism. We are cooperating with the of America to stop funding of terrorism around the region."

Trump praised Qatar's military purchases, saying they buy "a lot of equipment from us, a lot of military airplanes, missiles." The pair also "discussed obstacles to restoring unity in the Gulf Cooperation Council," the statement added, a clear reference to the diplomatic feud between and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 10:35 IST