Trump, Tillerson send mixed messages on Qatar

Trump bashed Qatar as a "funder of terrorism at a very high level" and called on it to stop funding terrorist organizations.

The list, however, contains at least two names already designated internationally as terrorist financiers, and against whom Qatar took action, according to a previous US Department of State report.

"We lead the region in attacking the roots of terrorism", the Qatari statement said.

Tillerson says the USA will support efforts to mediate the crisis along with Kuwait.

In a press conference called Friday, Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia and a group of Arab countries on Friday to immediately "ease their blockade" of Qatar and "put forth a good faith effort to resolve the grievances they have with each other".

"The blockade is hindering USA military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS", Tillerson said, using a common American acronym for the group.

Qatar strongly rejects the allegations and says it is open to talks on ending the dispute, which also saw the three Gulf states order all Qataris out of their countries within 14 days.

In Tillerson's speech, he said that although the emir has made progress halting financial support for terrorist elements and expelling them from the country, "he must do more and he must do it more quickly".

The president did not limit his call for greater action against terrorism to Qatar alone but instead urged "Qatar and other nations in the region to do more to combat terrorism and do it faster".

Qatar, which has developed an assertive foreign policy over the past decade, denies that it supports militants and says it is helping to reduce the threat of terrorism by backing groups that fight poverty and seek political reform.

Launching an extraordinary allegation against a key USA military partner, Trump derided what he called Qatar's "extremist ideology in terms of funding" terrorist groups, an accusation Qatar has repeatedly and vehemently denied.

A Qatari official had no immediate comment on the designations but said that Qatar adheres to United Nations Security Council resolutions on countering terrorism including eradicating sources of financing for terrorism.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and others accused Qatar of supporting extremist groups, an assertion since backed by US President Donald Trump.

"They will not have a positive impact on the region but a negative one", the minister said during a visit to Germany.

The US has called on the Gulf states to "de-escalate" their row with Qatar, saying it has caused unintended "humanitarian" consequences.

Construction continues for now despite a blockade that's stranding trucks in Saudi Arabia and cargo in ports in the United Arab Emirates. Qatar dismissed the terror listing as part of "baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact".

Qatar receives much of its food across the now-closed land border with Saudi Arabia.

Trump, speaking in the White House Rose Garden yesterday, said his concerns about Qatar's support to terror groups was raised during his meeting weeks ago with Arab and Muslim leaders.

- Senegal announces a recall of its ambassador to Qatar and expresses its "active solidarity" with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries which have cut ties with Qatar.

Crisis in the Gulf: Why is Qatar under siege?

Iranian officials said Sunday that tonnes of vegetables had been sent from Iran to Qatar since the measures were taken against it.

  • Leroy Wright


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