Trump spoke by phone to Egypt's Sisi to discuss Qatar: official

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 09, 2017 1:29 PM

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone on Friday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to discuss Qatar and the need for Gulf unity, a senior administration official said.

It was the fourth call Trump has had with a regional leader since Gulf allies severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday over long-standing allegations that Doha is courting Iran.

During his phone calls, Trump has emphasized a desire for Gulf unity in the wake of the crisis but has made clear he sees a need for Qatar to improve its behavior, said the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump got to know many Gulf leaders during his trip to Saudi Arabia last month during which he attended a summit of Gulf Cooperation Council nations.

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain broke off ties with Qatar over its ties to Iran, which they deem the region's biggest external threat, and supporting Islamist groups, seen as the biggest internal danger.

Trump antagonized Iran this week in a statement offering prayers for the victims of attacks claimed by Islamic State militants that killed at least 12 people in Tehran.

He said that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Chris Reese and James Dalgleish)