Tillerson faces tough Gulf talks on ending Qatar boycott
July 12 2017 01:50 PM
Rex Tillerson
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is seen at a news conference in Doha on Tuesday.

Reuters/Dubai

* Four states say deal on curbing terrorism funding not enough
* They reinstate 13 wide-ranging demands
* Qatar says demands infringe its sovereignty


US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson faces an uphill task in persuading four Arab states to end a boycott of Qatar in talks on Wednesday after the four labelled a US-Qatar terrorism financing accord an inadequate response to their concerns.
Any resolution of the dispute has to address all the key concerns of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, a senior UAE official said ahead of the talks in Saudi Arabia.
The four countries imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with the Gulf Arab states' arch-foe Iran, charges Doha denies. The four states and Qatar are all US allies.
Tillerson arrived in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah where he was due to meet the four nations' foreign ministers to advance efforts to end the worst dispute among Gulf Arab states since the formation of their Gulf Cooperation Council regional body in 1981.
Shortly after Tillerson signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday in Doha on combating the financing of terrorism, the four countries issued a statement labelling it as inadequate.
They also reinstated 13 wide-ranging demands they had originally submitted to Qatar but had later said were void.
The 13 include curbing ties to Iran, closing Al Jazeera TV, closing a Turkish military base in Qatar and the handing over of all designated terrorists on its territory.
The four boycotting states said in a joint statement on Tuesday they appreciated US efforts in fighting terrorism.
Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said the dispute was rooted in an absence of trust and that any solution must address the four states' grievances.
The United States worries the crisis could impact its military and counter-terrorism operations and increase the regional influence of Iran, which has been supporting Qatar by allowing it to use air and sea links through its territory.

Last updated: July 12 2017 01:51 PM


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