Amid Crisis and Scandal, Emir of Qatar to Meet Trump Tuesday

Qatar has been under siege since early June, when the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and its other neighbors severed ties over claims the small, gas-rich monarchy was funding terrorism

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani speaks during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia March 26, 2018
REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Amid the ongoing Gulf states' boycott and mounting scandals, the emir of Qatar will be meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House tomorrow.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will be meeting with Trump on April 10.

She said at the time Trump looks forward to discussing ways to strengthen ties between the two countries and “advance our common security and economic priorities.”

Qatar has been under siege since early June, when the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and its other neighbors 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.

A top fundraiser for Trump also filed a lawsuit last month against Qatar and lobbyists working for the state, alleging they hacked his and his wife’s emails as part of the ongoing dispute.

Trump and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates agreed on Friday to push for unity among Gulf nations, the White House said, amid a bitter standoff between Qatar and other U.S. allies in the region.

The two leaders agreed in a telephone call that members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council "can and should do more to increase coordination with each other and with the United States," the White House said in a statement.

The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, cut off travel and trade ties with Qatar last June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and their arch-rival Iran. Doha has denied the charges and has said the countries aim to curtail its sovereignty.

The dispute pits key U.S. allies against each other and has complicated efforts to maintain a united front against Iran.

Earlier this week, U.S. officials said the Trump administration was postponing until September a summit with Gulf Arab leaders that had been planned for May. A crowded diplomatic calendar and lack of progress in negotiations to end the dispute were cited as reasons by officials.