German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says US President Donald Trump is responsible for stirring up conflicts in the Middle East.
“US President Trump’s recent giant military contracts with Persian Gulf monarchies raise the risk of a new spiral in arms sales,” said Gabriel in an interview with the Handelsblatt daily to be published on Wednesday.
On Monday, the US State Department confirmed a $750-million military sale to Saudi Arabia as part of the huge deal, in which Riyadh agreed to buy $110 billion worth of US weapons, with options to buy up to $350 billion over 10 years.
“This policy is completely wrong and is certainly not Germany’s policy…I am very concerned with the dramatic escalation and the consequences for the whole region,” he added.
Gabriel further warned against isolating Qatar, a move which he said would endanger the tiny Persian Gulf Kingdom’s existence.
“Such a ‘Trumpification’ of relations in a region already susceptible to crises is particularly dangerous,” he stressed.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, the Maldives, the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, and Yemen’s former government broke off relations with Qatar and blocked connecting routes with the country. Taking the move, Riyadh and its allies accused Doha of backing “terrorist” organizations, and intervening in the affairs of other Arab states.
The split among the Arab states erupted last month after Trump visited Saudi Arabia where he accused Iran of “destabilizing interventions” in Arab lands.
Saudi Arabia was the first stop on Trump’s first international trip on May 20. No other US president has made the kingdom their first foreign visit.
Last month, Gabriel harshly criticized Trump, saying the US president’s actions have “weakened the West” and his “short-sighted” policies have hurt European Union interests.
Jordan downgrades ties with Qatar
Meanwhile, Jordan has announced that it will be downgrading its diplomatic representation with Qatar after investigating the “cause of the crisis” between Doha and several other Arab states.
Jordan also announced that it had revoked the license of Doha-based TV channel Al-Jazeera.
Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Momani made the announcement in a statement which said the move was to “ensure regional stability, coordinate the policies of Arab countries and end the crises in our region.”
Isolating Qatar a futile move
Also on Tuesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that isolating Qatar or imposing sanctions against it would not achieve anything.
“Isolating Qatar will not resolve any problem…We are and we will do everything we can to resolve this crisis,” he said. Erdogan added that his country will continue to develop ties with Qatar.
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