Trump ignores secy's call for calm, 'scolds' Qatar

Tillerson also said Qatar needed to address its neighbors' concerns about terrorist financing as he sought to find a middle ground after President Trump tweeted support for the blockade this week.

The United States has called on Arab states to ease their blockade on Qatar and demanded all sides move to calm tensions that intensified with a Turkish offer to send troops, warships and planes to aid its Qatari ally.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for an easing of the blockade six Arab countries have placed against the nation of Qatar.

"Qatar has a history of supporting groups that span the spectrum of political expression, from activism to violence", Tillerson said.

Erdogan said Saudi Arabia, as the dominant Arab state in the Gulf region, should be leading efforts to unite the Arab "fraternity" there rather than dividing it.

Trump had asked Tillerson to help mediate the crisis, and the secretary has been calling his counterparts in the region to "de-escalate" the situation and resolve their grievances.

Qatar said the terror listing is part of "baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact".

The nations have long criticized Qatar's support for Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. "They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar", said Trump.

Doha insisted the sanctions, which include the Gulf states severing air, land and sea links with Qatar, "will not affect the daily life of citizens and residents".

Speaking from the White House, Trump said Qatar "has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level", reported Financial Times. Though the president said others, too, were guilty of supporting terrorism, he said he would not name them. He warned that the Persian Gulf crisis is hindering US efforts to fight the Islamic State group. Also on Monday, Tillerson said he did not "expect that this will have any significant impact, if any impact at all, on the unified fight against terrorism in the region or globally".

He said the USA supports the emir of Kuwait in his efforts to resolve the conflict and closed by calling upon the Gulf Cooperation Council - a regional political alliance between Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - to reaffirm the spirit of the summit attended by Trump three weeks ago, during which all of the countries committed to fight against terrorism. They have imposed what Qatar says is a blockade of shipping and air traffic and closed Qatar's only land border, causing panic buying at supermarkets and provoking confusion and anxiety across the population.

"Our expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to de-escalate the situation", Tillerson said stressing that the United States backs the efforts exerted by the Emir of Kuwait, H H Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah to resolve the crisis.

  • Leroy Wright