Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Saudi, allies enlist 59 persons, 12 entities over Qatar 'terrorist' links

Rulers in places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt resent Al Jazeera's broad reach and its willingness to rile up opposition Rulers in places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt resent Al Jazeera's broad reach and its willingness to rile up opposition
Conrad Doyle | 24 June, 2017, 17:41

He said the USA supports the emir of Kuwait in his efforts to resolve the conflict and closed by calling upon the Gulf Cooperation Council - a regional political alliance between Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - to reaffirm the spirit of the summit attended by Trump three weeks ago, during which all of the countries committed to fight against terrorism.

Led by Saudi Arabia, several states in the Middle East and Africa have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar since Monday, accusing it of supporting "terrorism" and for its ties with Iran - a charge Qatar has dismissed. The Gulf countries have accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorist activities in Syria and Yemen.

They also resent Doha's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood movement and its sponsorship of the pan-Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera, which has given opposition figures a platform.

"The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level", he said.

Increasing the pressure Friday, Qatar's neighbors put 12 organizations and 59 people on a terror sanctions list and described them as being associated with Qatar.

Doha rejected the accusation and cited its record of fighting terrorism.

"Our position on countering terrorism is stronger than numerous signatories of the joint statement - a fact that has been conveniently ignored by the authors", it added.

Erdogan has said isolating Qatar would not resolve any problems.

"Qatar can no longer have it both ways", said Yousef al-Otaiba, UAE's ambassador to the United States, in a statement following the president's remarks.

The move was announced as Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, approved new legislation - rushed through the Turkish parliament the day before - for increased military cooperation with Qatar, including the potential deployment of Turkish troops.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Gulf countries still saw Qatar as a "brother state".

Qatar's neighbours have given its citizens 14 days to leave, banned Qatari flights from their airspace and closed its only land border.

He also called the moves against Qatar "violations of worldwide law and global humanitarian law".

Sheikh Mohammed is expected in Moscow Saturday to meet Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and officials said Friday he also spoke with Tillerson by telephone.

Trump has tapped Tillerson to de-escalate the Gulf crisis.

Qatar's national human rights committee said families had been split and hundreds of people affected.

Tillerson says the US will support efforts to mediate the crisis along with Kuwait.

In a strong-worded opening remarks, Trump alleged that Qatar was funding terrorism at the "highest level" and asked other countries doing the same to stop with immediate effect.

The U.S. military has said it wouldn't change its position regarding Qatar's Al-Udeid Air Base, but Mr. Trump said in a tweet Tuesday that other Middle Eastern "leaders pointed to Qatar" funding radical Islamic ideology.

There were reports he was to head to Qatar after the UAE trip.

Despite Mr Tillerson's plea for "no further escalation", Mr Trump's sharp comments are likely to further embolden Saudi Arabia and others in their bid to isolate Qatar.

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