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    Qatar Emir to meet Trump next week in bid to end Gulf crisis

    The Emir of Qatar will meet with US President Donald Trump at the White House next week, hoping to end a spat that has riven the Gulf.
    Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is set to meet Trump on April 10 to “discuss means of enhancing and developing strategic relations,” Qatar’s state-run QNA said on Thursday.
    The agency said Sheikh Tamim will spend several days in US to meet with military generals, congressmen and senior officials.
    In a statement, the White House said Trump looks forward to discussing ways to strengthen ties between the two countries and “advance our common security and economic priorities.”
    The move comes days after Trump urged the leaders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia to end the ongoing dispute between the neighbouring states.
    Qatar has been under siege since early June.
    Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties over claims the small, gas-rich monarchy was funding terrorism, disrupting Gulf unity and fomenting opposition across the region.
    Qatar has denied the charges.
    This week, Doha received an official invitation to participate at the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia this month, more than ten months into the land, air and sea blockade.
    Qatar’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Lulwa al-Khater, who revealed the move to The New Arab, said authorities have yet to respond to the invitation.
    “The state of Qatar has received the invitation to participate in the Arab Summit, and will participate, but we have not yet decided the level of participation,” Khater said.
    Trump had hoped to host a summit of Gulf leaders, hoping to ease the crisis.
    That plan now appears to have been delayed in favour of a bilateral meeting between the US and Qatari leaders.
    Trump had taken a hard line against Qatar, saying the country needed to scale back ties with Iran and stop funding extremism.
    Aides – mindful of the pivotal role that the Al Udeid Air Base outside Doha plays in US Middle East operations – have since convinced him to take a more moderate approach.
    Saudi Arabia’s young crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman last month started a three-week tour of the US that saw friendly talks with Trump.

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