Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi praised United States president Donald J. Trump on Friday, for his “influential participation” in the US-Arab-Islamic Summit in May and the formation of a united front to fight terrorism, according to Egyptian presidency statement.
The two presidents had a telephone conversation following the decision of Arab states to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the latter of supporting and financing terrorism.
President Al-Sisi and president Trump discussed the importance of coordination between the two countries to reach stability in the region, asserting that “interfering policies through supporting terrorism are not acceptable”.
A senior US administration official told Reuters that the two presidents focused on the latest developments of the situation in the Gulf region concerning Qatar, adding that Trump expressed US support for unity in the Gulf; however, he said that Qatar needed to “improve its behavior.”
President Trump also spoke on the phone Friday with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where they dicussed the importance of implementing the agreements reached in the US-Arab-Islamic Summit and maintaining unity and stability of Gulf states, “but never at the expense of eliminating funding for radical extremism or defeating terrorism,” according to White House statements.
Furthermore, President Trump offered to host the conflicting parties in the White House in order to reach an agreement. During his telephone conversation with Sheikh Tameem bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, he stated that all states in the region must cooperate to prevent funding terrorist organizations.
However, Qatar reportedly refused any interference, adding that Qatar “would not compromise its sovereignty over foreign policy,” according to Reuters.
President Trump said on Friday that Qatar was funding terrorist organizations “at a very high level,” adding that solving the issue of Qatar would be “the beginning of the end of terrorism,” during a press conference in the White House with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis.
On 6 June, President Trump posted on Twitter, following the decisions of three Gulf countries and Egypt to cut ties with Qatar, saying: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”
The US-Arab-Islamic Summit was held in Riyadh, KSA in May, marking President Trump’s first visit abroad as president of the US to meet tens of leaders of Arab and Muslim countries and discuss combating terrorism.
The summit was concluded by the establishment of a Center for Fighting Terrorism in Riyadh, which was inaugurated to counter extremist ideologies and spread moderate culture. Several leaders pointed to Iran in their speeches as the biggest terrorism-supporter in the region.
Days after the summit, alleged statements by the Emir of Qatar were published on Qatar’s state-owned news agency QENA expressing Qatar’s support to Iran, as well as accusing Arab states of interfering in Qatar’s interior affairs, raising the tensions between Qatar and Arab states.
On 5 June, Egypt, Bahrain, KSA, and the UAE announced cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar and closing airfield and ports to all Qatari means of transport, accusing Qatar of supporting and financing terrorist organizations, and interfering in Gulf states’ policies.