*Summit-level meeting expected to a breath fresh air into efforts to end Gulf crisis
Efforts to end the more than three-month-old Gulf crisis are expected to get a fillip when His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani meets US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York on Tuesday.
According to a statement issued by the White House on Friday, Trump will hold a meeting with His Highness the Emir, who is now in New York to attend the UN General Assembly meeting early this week.
Sheikh Tamim arrived in New York City on Friday evening to attend the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) said.
“Qatar and the US are very close allies and their strategic relations are very strong. Besides hosting the massive US air base at Al Udeid, Qatar has been a key partner in the US fight against terrorism,” an observer said. "It is very likely that the Emir-Trump meeting would prove a milestone in the historic relations between the two countries,” he added.
“The Gulf crisis, now in its 14th week, has evaded a solution but looking at the strong measures Qatar has taken, in tandem with the US, to curb financing of terrorism, the Americans must be keen to end the dispute, which is in nobody’s interest,” said the observer who wanted to stay anonymous.
In July, Qatar and the US signed an agreement aimed at combating the financing of terrorism during the visit of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Doha.
“The agreement we signed represents weeks of intensive discussions between experts and reinvigorates the spirit of the Riyadh summit,” Tillerson had said at a joint news conference with HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.
Last month, Qatar’s National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Committee (NAMLC) engaged the US-based Financial Integrity Network (FIN) as its principal strategic adviser for enhancing the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) system.
The arrangement will help ensure Qatar meets the heightened and evolving global standards and expectations for financial integrity.
In its annual Country Report on Terrorism 2016, the US State Department has praised the “full partnership” between the US and Qatar in the fight against terrorism, highlighting the public role of Doha in the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS.
US is a major investment centre for Qatar. Qatar Investment Authority alone has plans to invest $45bn in the US and about half of it has already been invested, according to the Authority chief Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani. US companies have made huge investments in the oil and natural gas sectors in Qatar.
The Emir has arrived in the US following his highly successful visits to Turkey on Thursday and Germany and France on Friday.
During his discussions with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, the Emir discussed the latest developments in the Gulf crisis and ways to solve it through diplomatic channels. Turkey has been a close ally of Qatar and both countries enjoy excellent bilateral relations in diverse fields like defence and commerce. Erdogan has strongly spoken out against the blockade imposed by the Saudi-led bloc on Qatar.
In Germany, His Highness the Emir and Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed issues including the Gulf crisis, which the German leader said should be solved through dialogue and reiterated her support to the mediation efforts led by Kuwait.
After His Highness the Emir met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, the latter demanded the lifting of the Saudi-led blockade on Qatar in effect since June.
Macron is calling for "the embargo measures affecting the people of Qatar, in particular families and students, to be lifted as quickly as possible," the president's office said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of supporting extremism - charges Qatar has denied.
Riyadh and its supporters severed air and sea links with Qatar and closed its only land border, cutting off vital routes for imports including food.
The US president is scheduled to meet leaders from Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the United Kingdom and Egypt on Wednesday.
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