Trump hails Qatar as 'great host' for US military base
United States President Donald Trump has hailed Qatar as a great host for the largest US military base in the Middle East.
Trump made the remarks while holding a video teleconference on Wednesday with a US military official based at the Al-Udeid Air Base.
"It is a great place and it is an incredible base, as I understand it, and we will get out to see you one day," Trump said after asking the official about the ongoing Saudi-led blockade of Doha.
Qatar is home to the US base, where some 10,000 US troops are stationed and from which Washington deploys warplanes used in the battle against the Islamic State group.
Earlier this year, Washington and Doha announced plans for a major expansion to Al-Udeid.
The US recently said it would appoint an ambassador to Qatar, after a 16-month gap during which Doha has been at the centre of a regional diplomatic crisis.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Doha on 5 June, 2017 over allegations it seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran and supports radical Islamist groups.
Qatar denies the charges, accusing its neighbours of seeking regime change. The four countries continue an embargo of the small gas-rich Gulf state.
In the beginning, Trump appeared to back Saudi Arabia's diplomatic stand-off with Doha - especially over the issue of terror funding.
However, in a White House meeting in April with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the US president stressed the strategic ties between the two countries.
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