Since June, Saudi Arabia has led the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain in imposing a punishing trade and transport boycott against tiny, gas-rich Qatar, accusing it of financing terrorism and having overly cozy relations with Iran. Qatar has rejected the charges, countering that its rivals are seeking to curb its sovereignty and tame its influential television channel Al Jazeera.
Mr. Trump stepped into the frame this past week, offering his services as a mediator and predicting a quick victory. “I think you’d have a deal worked out very quickly,” he said at the White House on Thursday, standing alongside the emir of Kuwait, who has led Arab efforts to end the standoff.
But Friday’s phone call between the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, seemed to underscore only how hard it might be to settle the dispute.
Within hours of the call, Qatar’s state news agency issued a statement that said the emir “welcomed a proposal” by the young Saudi prince to appoint two peace envoys to help bridge their differences.
That language infuriated the Saudis, who appeared insulted by the suggestion that they had bowed first in the dispute. The Saudi state news service retorted with its own report, citing unnamed officials, that accused Qatar of distorting the facts and declared that dialogue between the two countries had been suspended.
Source Credit: The New York Times
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