As Tillerson calls for calm, Trump calls out Qatar on terror

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.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the lifting of a blockade on Qatar on Friday after approving legislation on deploying Turkish troops there, as the Gulf state faces isolation imposed by fellow Arab states over its alleged support for terrorism. We had a decision to make, "Do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard, but necessary action?"

Trump's demand that there be "no more funding" by Qatar for extremists groups contradicted the message delivered Friday by Tillerson, who had urged Qatar's neighbors to ease their blockade while calling for "calm and thoughtful dialogue".

"The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding - they have to end that funding - and its extremist ideology in terms of funding", Trump said.

This assessment has been only partially corroborated by the Pentagon.

During the funeral, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani called the U.S. the "international" version of the Islamic State group and said Washington had exchanged democracy for money, a reference to a recent huge arms deal between the USA and Saudi Arabia.

"The Emir of Qatar has made progress in halting" support for and financing of terrorist groups, Tillerson said, "but he must do more and do it quickly". They warned, however, that their ability to make longer-term plans was being affected.




It wasn't immediately clear how Trump's sharp condemnation might affect USA cooperation with Qatar, which hosts some 10,000 United States troops and a major U.S. air base that serves as a staging ground for operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Erdogan vowed to keep supporting Qatar after his rapid approval of the bill, pushed through parliament on Wednesday, and he rejected accusations that it supported terrorism. They have imposed what Qatar says is a blockade of shipping and air traffic and closed Qatar's only land border, causing panic buying at supermarkets and provoking confusion and anxiety across the population.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain released a joint statement listing 59 entities and individuals, including members of Qatar's royal family, as involved in "terrorist" activities. Urging all sides to avoid further escalation of the conflict, Tillerson said the elements were available to resolve it.

"We believe these are unintended consequences, especially during the holy month of Ramadan", Tillerson said, referring to the most important holiday on the Muslim calendar. "But they can be addressed immediately".

Tillerson said that after speaking with Gulf leaders it is clear "that the elements of a solution are available" and that the US expects "that these countries will immediately take steps to de-escalate the situation and put forth a good faith effort to resolve their grievances they have with each other".

The blockade is also impeding United States and other global business activities in the region, Tillerson said, creating hardship for the people of Qatar and people whose livelihood depends on doing business with Qatar.

Less than two hours earlier, Tillerson had approached the crisis from a different direction - warning that the stand-off between the former Gulf allies was undermining the anti-terror fight.

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