WASHINGTON — President Trump accused Qatar of funding terrorism at a “very high level,” says funding must stop.
During a press conference with the Romanian president at the White House Friday, Mr. Trump said Qatar, which hosts roughly 10,000 U.S. troops and serves as a major staging base, has “historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”
He said that funding has to end.
“We have to stop the funding of terrorism,” Mr. Trump said. “I decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals and military people, the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding — they have to end that funding — and its extremist ideology in terms of funding.”
Qatar has long denied supporting or funding terror groups. But Western diplomats accuse the country of allowing or even encouraging the funding of some Sunni extremists.
“I want to call on all other nations to stop immediately supporting terrorism,” Mr. Trump said. “Stop teaching people to kill other people. Stop filling their minds with hate and intolerance. I won’t name other countries, but we are not done solving the problem, but we will solve that problem — have no choice.”
Mr. Trump’s comments publicly undercut Tillerson, who earlier Friday called on Arab nations to immediately ease their blockade on Qatar. He warned that the Persian Gulf crisis is hindering U.S. efforts to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
Saudi Arabia and other nations cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar earlier this week.