In stern rebuke of Mideast ally, U.S. raps Qatar on terror funds

In stern rebuke of Mideast ally, U.S. raps Qatar on terror funds

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters at the State Department that in addition to “creating a hardship on the people of Qatar” the ongoing blockade by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt is “hindering” the USA -led effort to combat Daesh.

Tillerson told reporters at the State Department that the crisis, which has cut transportation links and trade, had begun to hurt ordinary people in Qatar, impaired business dealings and harmed the US battle against the Islamic State militant group.

Trump’s call to Qatari ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, a key USA ally, came as a senior Emirati official said that Gulf Arab states were not seeking regime change in Doha. We’re seeing shortages of food, families are being forcibly separated, and children are being pulled out of school.

“The blockade is hindering USA military action in the region, and the campaign against ISIS“, Tillerson said, using an acronym for the extremist group.

Taking what appeared to be a different position to Trump’s hard line, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made clear on Friday he expected all parties to end the crisis.

The foreign minister of Bahrain, one of the Arab countries to cut ties with Qatar amid a bitter row between the Gulf neighbours, will on Saturday visit Turkey which has close ties with Doha, the Turkish foreign ministry said. Qatar has previously said it would “not surrender” to outside influences on its foreign policies.

Anxious residents have responded to the crisis by emptying grocery stores in the Qatari capital Doha, as Saudi Arabia has blocked trucks carrying food from entering the country across its only land border.

In a strong-worded opening remarks, Trump alleged that Qatar was funding terrorism at the “highest level” and asked other countries doing the same to stop with immediate effect. “We support the emir of Kuwait’s efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to this agreement, and progress toward eliminating all forms of support for terrorism – military, financial, moral, or ideological”.

Then, on Tuesday, news emerged that US officials said they’d concluded that it was Russian hackers who’d broken into Qatar’s state news website to post that report. Qatar has been accused of backing terrorism by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Maldives, and most importantly, Saudi Arabia.

Those nations, most notably Saudi Arabia, disagree with Qatar over the role of Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Iran.

Gargash said the four Arab states seek a “political commitment to change course” by Qatar, including ending its support for the Brotherhood and Hamas.

Trump urged more than 50 Muslim leaders at the gathering to “drive out” terrorists from their lands, which Gulf officials say helped embolden the move against Qatar this week.