Saudi Arabia and Bahrain welcome Donald Trump's scolding of Qatar

"Stop the killing", Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House in a joint news conference with the visiting Romanian President Klaus Johannis.

Therefore, Trump said, he took the "hard but necessary action" of calling out Qatar.

"Stop funding, stop teaching hate and stop the killing", he added.

Trump's press conference came on the heels of a similar statement made by his US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the US State Department.

Tillerson also weighed in on behalf of Qatar, encouraging dialogue and cooperation between the states in the region.

In stressing the need to take action against Qatar, Trump appeared to undercut Tillerson, who had called on Qatar's neighbors to immediately ease their blockade.

But at the Pentagon, N avy Captain Jeff Davis said only long-term military planning was affected.

We support the emir of Kuwait's efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to this agreement and progress toward eliminating all forms of support for terrorism - military, financial, moral, or ideological.

"Qatar has become such a permissive terrorist financing environment, that several major Qatar-based fundraisers act as local representatives for larger terrorist fundraising networks..."

Washington has sent mixed signals on the crisis, despite Qatar's position as a key ally and host to the largest U.S. airbase in the region. He warned that the Persian Gulf crisis is hindering USA efforts to fight the Islamic State group.

In recent days, Turkey has stepped in to supply supermarkets there with eggs and milk after anxious residents cleaned out shelves in the early days of the crisis.

"The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level", Trump said, echoing an allegation the Saudi-led group has used to justify cutting diplomatic ties to the tiny gas-rich kingdom.

"I won't name other countries but we are not done solving the problem, but we will solve that problem", he said. Qatar acknowledges its links to these groups, but denies that it supports terrorism.

The sudden move to hire Ashcroft's firm shows Qatar "certainly dropped the ball" in recognizing that government opinion in Washington had swung away from it, said Christopher Davidson, a professor of Middle East politics at Durham University in Britain. The Gulf countries have accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorist activities in Syria and Yemen. They have imposed what Qatar said was a blockade of shipping and air traffic and closed Qatar's only land border, causing panic buying at supermarkets and provoking confusion and anxiety across the population. "They will not have a positive impact on the region but a negative one", the minister said during a visit to Germany. Even though that does leave the Secretary of State in the awkward position of demanding lighter treatment for a country whom the president is accusing of abetting terror.

After German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the situation "very unsettling" on Friday, her foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, cautioned on Saturday that it could lead to war.

Saudi Arabia said it was committed to "decisive and swift action to cut off all funding sources for terrorism" in a statement carried by the state news agency SPA, while Bahrain hailed US efforts to ensure "international solidarity" on the issue.

  • Leroy Wright