US warns crisis between Qatar, Arab neighbors could last for months

July 7, 2017 12:29 pm

’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (L) and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shake hands before a meeting at the State Department on June 27, 2017. (AFP photo)

The US has warned that the crisis between Qatar and its Arab neighbors may intensify and could potentially drag on for weeks or even months.
The US believes the crisis could “possibly even intensify”, Heather Nauert, the spokeswoman for the US State Department, said on Thursday.
“We’ve become increasingly concerned that that dispute is at an impasse at this point. We believe that this could potentially drag on for weeks. It could drag on for months,” Heather Nauert, the spokeswoman for the US State Department, said on Thursday.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson remains in close contact with the countries involved and will be traveling to Kuwait on Monday to discuss efforts to resolve the crisis, she added.
, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties and cut all land, sea, and air contacts with Qatar on June 5. The four countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region, allegations denied by Doha.
The countries issued a list of demands for Qatar to meet in return for a normalization of ties. Among them was that Qatar shut down Al Jazeera, a media network that has reportedly been critical especially of Saudi Arabia, close a Turkish military base, limit its ties with Iran, and “compensate” the sanctioning countries.
Qatar has denied the allegations and refused to comply with the demands
The White House on Thursday confirmed that President Donald Trump discussed the crisis with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the G20 summit that starts on Friday.
The Pentagon said Friday US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has reaffirmed America’s “strategic partnership” with Qatar and has called for de-escalation of tensions between the Persian Gulf Arab states.
Mattis, who spoke by phone on Thursday with his Qatari counterpart Khaled bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, also discussed the status of operations against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.
“Secretary Mattis and Minister al-Attiyah affirmed their commitment to continued US-Qatar cooperation and deepening their strategic partnership,” a Pentagon readout of the conversation stated.
Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, hosts about 10,000 US troops at its al-Udeid Air Base.
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