Donald Trump has welcomed Qatar’s leader to the White House, barely a year after denouncing the gas-rich Gulf state as a “funder of terror”.
The US president initially sided with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations when they cut ties with their neighbour over its alleged support for jihadists.
But on Tuesday he praised Sheikh Tamim Al Thani for becoming a “big advocate” of combating terrorist financing.
He also said the emir was a “great gentleman” and a “friend of mine”.
Sheikh Tamim said the Qatari authorities did not and would not tolerate “people who fund terrorism” and that Mr Trump had been “very helpful” in supporting Qatar during the partial blockade that is still in place.
The dispute began last June, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain severed all diplomatic and trade links with Qatar.
Yemen, the Maldives and Libya’s eastern-based government later followed suit.
Qatar’s only land border was closed; ships flying the Qatari flag or those serving Qatar were banned from docking at many ports; and much of the region’s airspace was closed to Qatari aircraft.
The Saudi-led bloc accused Qatar of supporting terrorist groups across the region and of being too close to Iran, with whom it shares a huge offshore gas field.
Qatar acknowledged providing assistance to Islamist groups designated as terrorist…