Rex Tillerson hopes Qatar blockade will be lifted

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged Arab states to lift a « land blockade » on Qatar, saying the US is satisfied with the Gulf nation’s efforts to implement an agreement aimed at combatting terror financing.

« They have been very aggressive in implementing that agreement, so I think we’re satisfied with the effort they’re putting forth, » Tillerson told reporters just before meeting with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah at the State Department on Friday.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar last month, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with their arch-foe Iran, allegations Doha denies.

The July 12 agreement between Qatar and the US seeks to « track down and disable terror financing » and was signed during a visit to Doha by Tillerson.

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Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issued a decree on Thursday setting new rules for defining terrorism, freezing funding and terrorism financing, and established national terrorism lists.

The UAE welcomed the new rules on Friday in one of the first positive signs from the four Arab states since they imposed sanctions last month. 

The four states cut diplomatic, transport and commercial ties with Qatar on June 5, disrupting the import of food and other items and causing foreign banks to scale back business with Qatar.

« I hope the four countries will consider as a sign of good faith lifting this land blockade which is really having the most, I think negative effects on the Qatari people, » Tillerson said.

He added that Qatar was willing to sit with the four countries to discuss their demands, but that it was important to Doha « that the sovereignty and dignity of all five countries be respected in those discussions. »

On June 22, the Saudi-led group issued a 13-point list of demands, including the shutdown of Al Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country, as a prerequisite to lifting the blockade.

Doha rejected the demands, and the countries now consider the list null and void.

The blockading countries later issued a six-point list of demands.

Several Western diplomats have visited the Gulf over the past two weeks in a bid to ease the dispute, yet no breakthrough has been achieved.

Source: Reuters news agency

Via: Al Jazeera English —

July 21, 2017 at 06:36PM


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