Trump Walks All Over Tillerson On Qatar Dispute

Henrietta Strickland
June 13, 2017

Qatar said it led the region in attacking what it called the roots of terrorism, giving young people hope through jobs, educating hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and funding community programs to challenge extremist agendas, Reuters indicated.

Commenting on the criticism against Turkey for providing food supplies and military support to Qatar, Erdogan said: "Our friends in the Gulf were not bothered by the United States base in Qatar but why are they concerned about a Turkish base".

"We call for all contradictions to be resolved at the negotiation table through a mutually respectful dialogue", Lavrov said, adding Arab states should unite to effectively fight terrorism.

Trump, whose accusation was accompanied by a call for Qatar to re-join "the unity of responsible nations", contrasted with more balanced remarks by Tillerson, who urged calm as Doha remains blockaded by neighbouring states.

The State Department had said the USA learned only at the last minute about the Arab nations' plan to cut ties.

Their joint statement also listed 12 entities, among them Qatari-funded charities Qatar Charity and Eid Charity, as having terrorist links.

In a day of mixed messages and chaotic diplomacy, Tillerson emphasized the economic, humanitarian and military damage he said the blockade was inflicting.

"We believe these are unintended consequences, especially during the holy month of Ramadan", he said.

"While current operations from Al Udeid Air Base have not been interrupted or curtailed, the evolving situation is hindering our ability to plan for longer-term military operations", Davis said.

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 USA battle against the Daesh (so-called IS) militant group.

Still, the Pentagon has been developing contingency plans in case there's any interruption, defense officials said.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations blockade air, sea, and land traffic into Qatar.

He said the diplomatic rift has not interrupted or curtailed operations at al Udeid air base, a launching pad for United States military efforts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia and the other nations cited Qatar's relations with Iran, as well as what they say is Qatar's support for extremist groups such as Hamas, al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

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

JEDDAH: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Qatar must do more, "more quickly" to combat extremism. Qatar dismissed the terror listing as part of "baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact".

Delivering a short statement at the State Department in Washington on Friday, he said: "US expectation is that Gulf countries would immediately take steps to de-escalate situation in region".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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