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Tillerson calls on Arab nations to ease blockade on Qatar

Tillerson calls on Arab nations to ease blockade on Qatar

Trump's comments came after his top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, appealed to Saudi Arabia and its regional allies to ease their blockade of Qatar, saying it is hindering U.S. military actions in the region and the fight against the Islamic State terror group.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move on Monday, accusing it of support for Islamist militants and Iran.

But Trump said the isolation of Qatar is not a long-term US goal, expressing hope that the nation will "do more and do it faster" in cutting its financial ties supporting terror groups.

Tillerson, speaking at the State Department, said the USA would help support efforts to mediate the crisis, along with Kuwait - another Gulf country that has stepped up to try to broker a resolution.

Trump's remarks Friday piggybacked on a Tuesday tweet in which he said, "During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology".

"They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he never witnessed Doha supporting terrorism, adding that Turkey "will continue to give all kinds of support to Qatar" amid Arab crisis.

"The blockade is hindering US military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS", Tillerson said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In its latest Country Reports on Terrorism, the US State Department said Qatar in 2015 froze assets and imposed travel bans on Ka'bi and Kawari, both of whom are Qatari citizens.

Saudi Arabia and three other countries on Friday published a list of individuals and groups that, they allege, have links with Qatar over "terrorism", reported Bloomberg. He credited Qatar's emir with making progress in curbing financial support and expelling terrorists, but added: "He must do more, and he must do it more quickly".

"Qatar has to redress its path and has to go back to all previous commitments, it has to stop media campaigns and has to distance itself from our number one enemy, Iran", he said.

Qatar is home to the largest US military base in the region. Qatar's foreign minister rejected attempts to interfere in the country's foreign policy and said a "military solution" to the country's crisis with its Gulf neighbours was not an option.

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