Qatar Emir Takes Case to the UN Amid Saudi-Led Embargo

Updated on
  • Speech caps Emir’s first foreign trip since Gulf spat began
  • Qatari ruler to meet with Trump, who is trying to end impasse

100 Days Since the Qatar-Gulf Feud Began

Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani urged leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to back his request for talks to end the months-long crisis between his country and a Saudi-led coalition.

The “unjust” economic blockade of Qatar is an attempt to destabilize a sovereign nation, he said, adding that his country is prospering despite the blockade, using sea and air routes outside the control of its opponents. Qatar is open to dialog, he said.

“We have refused to yield to dictations by pressure and siege,” he said at the UN podium. “At the same time, we have taken an open attitude towards dialog without dictation.”

President Donald Trump, who met with the emir later in the day, said he expected the crisis would be resolved soon.

“I have a very strong feeling that it will be solved and pretty quickly,” Trump said at the start of the two leaders’ meeting.

The emir’s UN speech capped his first foreign trip since his country was isolated by a Saudi-led bloc of Arab states in June. Sheikh Tamim met with heads of state in Turkey, Germany and France before arriving in New York last week, as diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis shifted from the increasingly splintered Persian Gulf to the White House.

Read More: Trump Is Said to Have Warned Saudis Off Qatar Military Move

Trump renewed a push to end the impasse this month that ultimately led to the first direct contact between Sheikh Tamim and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. While little was achieved in those talks beyond conflicting versions of the conversation, the U.S. president has remained engaged.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accuse Qatar of backing terrorist groups and cozying up to Iran, the Middle East’s Shiite power and chief Saudi foe. Trump has at times echoed that criticism.

Qatar has repeatedly rejected the charges, seeing instead an attack on its sovereignty. The alliance severed diplomatic and economic links, demanding the small, wealthy nation that hosts the regional headquarters for U.S. Central Command meet a list of demands it has rejected.

Read More: Why the Qatar Crisis Defies Rapid Resolution: QuickTake Q&A

In seeking a resolution, Trump is spurred by a conviction that the spat is distracting U.S. Gulf allies from his attempt to challenge Iran.

“I do believe we will solve it,” he told a White House news conference on Sept. 7. “If we don’t solve it, I will be a mediator right here in the White House” and “we will have something very quickly.”

— With assistance by Matthew Bristow, and Jennifer Jacobs

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