Russia, Qatar to discuss Middle East crisis

Pauline Gross
June 11, 2017

More than a third of the world's liquefied natural gas trade comes from Qatar, making it the world's largest producer and exporter of LNG.

Turkish products are meeting high demand in stores across Qatar, which is facing an economic blockade from fellow Arab countries.

Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, 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".

The crisis has raised deep concerns of instability in the region and on Sunday Kuwait's foreign minister said his country would continue efforts to mediate a solution to the crisis.

Trump's condemnation contradicted the message delivered by his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who had urged Qatar's neighbors to ease their blockade while calling for "calm and thoughtful dialogue".

"Stop funding, stop teaching hate and stop the killing", he added.

"We believe these are unintended consequences, especially during this holy month of Ramadan". "I've decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals, and military people, the time has come to call on Qatar to end its funding".

However, Trump unfazed by the accusation, gloated about his recent visit to the Middle east, which according to him paved the way for this move as he said in a series of tweets, "So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off".

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The president's words are a strong claim against Qatar, a key United States military ally that has consistently denied allegations of its support for terror organizations.

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 Islamic State militant group.

Insisting that isolating Qatar would not resolve any regional problems, Erdoğan vowed that he would do everything in his power to help end the regional crisis.

Tillerson, whom Trump has tasked with de-escalating the dispute, said it is "troubling to the United States, the region and to many people who are directly affected".

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE made no mention of Mr Tillerson's call.

Indeed, previous attempts to isolate more vulnerable Arab states have all eventually fizzled.

Turkey, along with Iran, has also been instrumental in helping Qatar keep open its air routes to the outside world following the closure of land borders and airspace by Qatar's Arab Gulf neighbours, as well as stepping in to supply fresh dairy products to Qatar, the item hardest hit by the embargo. Udeid hosts more than 10,000 personnel from U.S. and coalition forces, as well as more than 100 aircraft that are used in allied military operations in Iraq, Syria and other areas in the region. As well as closing all transport links with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain also gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave.

He denied that Qatar supported Egypt's outlawed Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip.

Other reports by GizPress

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