Diplomatic efforts intensify to resolve Gulf dispute

20 Juin, 2017, 16:11 | Author: Marc Bacque
  • Diplomatic efforts intensify to resolve Gulf dispute

President Trump hammered the tiny nation of Qatar, a vital Middle Eastern ally of the United States, for its history of funding terror groups, even as a diplomatic blockade of the gas-rich country by other Arab States is hindering USA military operations against ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

But he also warned that the response - Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties on Monday and are trying to blockade Qatar by air and sea - could be counterproductive.

Trump's Tuesday tweet-in which he said "all reference was pointing to Qatar" as a financer of extremism-was especially surprising given Qatar's role as host of the largest U.S. airbase in the Middle East. But Tillerson hinted at a wrinkle in the storyline: the breakdown in diplomatic relations is impairing US mediation in the Middle East because Qatar hosts a USA air base with 10,000 troops. Though Trump again said countries must eliminate funding streams for terror groups, the White House said he focused on the need for the region's various USA allies to stick together.

"We will not abandon our Qatari brothers", Erdogan said.

He said Qatar as an independent nation also had the right to support groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, despite its neighbours outlawing the Sunni Islamist group. Qatari military was put on high alert and 16 Leopard tanks were moved out of storage in Doha.

Oil-rich Qatar, which depends on food imports, especially from Saudi Arabia, denies allegations.

The U.S. base in Qatar happens to be the hub for anti-ISIS activity.

Qatar said on Thursday the action against it was endangering stability in Gulf but it was not prepared to compromise to settle the dispute.

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White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a regular press briefing on Tuesday that the USA wants to see the diplomatic row between Qatar and the other Gulf nations "deescalated and resolved immediately".

"We call for calm and thoughtful dialogue with clear expectations and accountability among the parties in order to strengthen relationships", Tillerson said.

He also called the moves against Qatar "violations of global law and worldwide humanitarian law".

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Gulf countries still saw Qatar as a "brother state".

Fifty-nine Individuals, including members of the Qatari royal family and controversial Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf Qaradawi, as well as 12 Qatari entities have been listed on a new terror list announced in a Saudi, Emirati, Bahraini and Egyptian joint-statement.

"Qatar has a history of supporting groups that have spanned the spectrum of political expression, from activism to violence", he added.

Emirates Post Group also said it had suspended postal services to Qatar as of Tuesday, according to state news agency Wam.

The United States is one of several countries offering to help.

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