Pentagon says Mattis speaks to Qatar's defense minister

U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis speaks at a press conference at the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) at Government House in Sydney, Australia, June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke on Tuesday by phone with his Qatari counterpart following a decision by Arab powers to cut ties to the Gulf ally, a Pentagon spokesman told Reuters, without disclosing the details of their discussion.

The Pentagon earlier on Tuesday renewed praise of Qatar for hosting a vital U.S. air base and for its “enduring commitment to regional security,” sticking to a message of reassurance even as President Donald Trump, via Twitter, applauded Arab nations’ decision to cut ties.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by James Dalgleish