Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Tillerson urges nations to negotiate to resolve Qatar crisis

Saudi Arabia Egypt and Jordan have kicked Al Jazeera bureaus out of their countries JONATHAN ERNST REUTERS Saudi Arabia Egypt and Jordan have kicked Al Jazeera bureaus out of their countries
Melinda Barton | 29 June, 2017, 09:08

Tenn., chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said he meant to block future arms sales to Gulf states - including to Saudi Arabia - until he sees "a path for resolving the ongoing dispute". "If Qatar wants to come back into the [Gulf Cooperation Council] fold they know what they have to do". But the move has left Qatar effectively blockaded by its Arab neighbors.

According to him, a productive next step would be for each of the countries to sit together and continue this conversation.

"A lowering of rhetoric would also help ease the tension", he added.

In a June 20 briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Tillerson had held more than 20 calls and meetings with regional and worldwide representatives, which included the foreign ministers of Qatar and Saudi Arabia as well as UAE leaders.

Corker's opposition includes all six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council - the five countries involved in the Qatar dispute as well as Kuwait, which has been acting as a mediator.

Gabriel said it would be hard for Qatar to accept all 13 demands on the "very provocative list", speaking at a European Council on Foreign Relations meeting in Berlin.

Earlier this month, Germany's foreign minister slammed the "Trumpification" of relations in the Gulf region and warned the crisis could lead to war.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the demands as being "against global law", while Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's foreign minister, has called them "very provocative". One sale already cleared by Congress was for up to $350 billion in precision-guided munitions and other offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia. The Senate voted this month to kill a measure that would have blocked part of the deal, but the vote of 47-53 reflected significant opposition to the sales.

Riyadh, along with the UAE, Bahran and Egypt cut ties with Qatar over allegations that it funds terrorism.

But either way, that hard line and willingness to leave Qatar - a key US ally that hosts almost 10,000 troops supporting the fight against ISIS - out in the cold is at odds with the USA view.

Hours before this warm welcome, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani voiced support for Qatar in its crisis, saying the so-called ongoing "blockade against Qatar" was "unacceptable".

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, have given Doha until Monday, July 3, to comply with their demands, but so far it has shown no signs of backing down. The country's isolation is about "behavioral change" rather than regime change, he said at a press conference in Dubai.