President Trump on Wednesday invited the leader of Qatar to meet at the White House to help resolve a deepening diplomatic crisis with the country’s Persian Gulf neighbors.
Trump made the offer during a Wednesday morning phone call with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“The president emphasized the importance of all countries in the region working together to prevent the financing of terrorist organizations and stop the promotion of extremist ideology,” the White House said in a statement.
“The president offered to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary.”
The call is the first known conversation between Trump and the Qatari emir since the spat broke out earlier this week.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and other nations severed formal relations with Qatar and accused its government of supporting terrorism.
The crisis has implications for the U.S.; Qatar hosts nearly 11,000 American military personnel at an air base.
U.S. officials believe the Russia helped foment the crisis by planting a fake news story about false remarks to the emir that praised Israel and Iran, according to CNN.
But Trump surprisingly appeared to take credit for the break in a string of tweets this week.
“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” he tweeted. “Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!”
“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off,” Trump added. “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 of the horror of terrorism!”
Qatar’s ambassador to the U.S. said Tuesday he was “surprised” by the president’s comments.
But the latest indication is that Trump now wants to play the role of mediator. He spoke on Tuesday with the leader of Saudi Arabia to call for regional unity.