Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
World News | By Penny Hart

Gulf leaders trade barbs as Qatar dispute shows no let-up


Moscow, Ankara, London - While Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain welcomed US President Donald Trump's statements on the importance of Qatar halting its support of terrorism, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani asserted that the Gulf Cooperation Council is the most appropriate venue for resolving the crises.

President Donald Trump has scrambled U.S. diplomacy on two fronts, delivering a rebuke of Qatar at the very moment his secretary of state was trying to mend fences in the Persian Gulf, while at the same time reaffirming support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation two weeks after he had declined to do so. "We have to stop the funding of terrorism".

"The blockade is hindering USA military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS", Tillerson said, without providing details.

"We are of the view that all parties should resolve their differences through a process of constructive dialogue and peaceful negotiations based on well-established global principles of mutual respect, sovereignty and non interference in the internal affairs of other countries", it added.

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In a sharp contrast to Trump's tone and messaging, Tillerson called on Gulf nations to de-escalate the crisis with Qatar, citing humanitarian, economic and military costs. He called on Qatar "to be responsive to the concerns of its neighbors". "I decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals and military people, the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding - they have to end that funding - and its extremist ideology in terms of funding", the President said.

Cavusoglu also said no country in the Gulf region should regard the deal concerning Turkey's setting up a base in Qatar as against itself. Saudi Arabia has also closed its land borders with Qatar, geographically isolating the tiny Gulf state. After Trump's trip to the Middle East last month, four U.S. Arab allies took steps to isolate Qatar because of its ties to Iran and support of Islamist groups.

"This will provide the necessary basis for any discussions", he added. The President publicly called Qatar a "funder of terrorism", and thanked "Saudi Arabia and my friend King Salman", in a move that could undermine American efforts to deal with the flare-up.

Bahrain "stressed the necessity of Qatar's commitment to correct its policies and to engage in a transparent manner in counter-terrorism efforts", its official BNA news agency said.

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