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Tue 24 Oct 2017 09:03 AM

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Former Trump strategist backs isolation of Qatar, comparing threat to North Korea

Steve Bannon described Qatar situation as "the single most important thing that's happening in the world"

Former Trump strategist backs isolation of Qatar, comparing threat to North Korea

The Saudi Arabia-led isolation of Qatar over its alleged financing of terrorists and relationship with Iran is the most important foreign confrontation in the world, US President Donald Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon said in a speech.

Bannon backs the Saudi effort and said Qatar must be held to account for allegedly funding the Muslim Brotherhood and other “radical Islamic terrorism,” Bannon said in remarks hosted by the Hudson Institute on Monday.

“I think the single most important thing that’s happening in the world is the situation in Qatar,” Bannon said. “What’s happening in Qatar is every bit as important as what’s happening in North Korea.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Saudi Arabia’s leaders rebuffed his request in meetings on Sunday to end the isolation of Qatar by their country, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE. The diplomatic row began in June shortly after President Donald Trump visited the Middle East and called for an end to terrorist financing by countries in the region.

Bannon called Trump’s speech a milestone in US policy toward the Middle East.

“I don’t think it was just by happenstance that two weeks after the summit that we saw the blockade by the UAE and Bahrain and Egypt and the king of Saudi Arabia on Qatar,” he said.

Trump said in September he’d be willing to mediate the dispute, after initially backing the Saudi-led effort against Qatar.

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