Tillerson cancels trip to Mexico to work on Qatar crisis

On June 5, five Arab countries - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain and Yemen - abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

"We are pleased to announce today the signing of the letter of offer and acceptance for the purchase of the F-15QA fighter jets, with an initial cost of $12 billion dollars", read the Qatari Defense Minister's statement on Wednesday afternoon.

The official listed reasons behind the breakup were media and intelligence reports alongside growing public opinion that Qatar was failing in its counterterrorism duties while continuing as an active source of funding for terrorist operations in the Arab world, most specifically the Muslim Brotherhood in Sisi-controlled Egypt and in regards to the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

In addition, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain closed their airspace to Qatar, and asked Qatari diplomats to leave their territories within 48 hours. With no warning, they aggressively isolated Qatar, imposing a blockade on a US security partner that hosts over 10,000 American troops.

However, Trump's siding with Saudi Arabia is not as smooth as it seems on the surface. They accused it of state support for extremist groups and denounced its political proximity to Shiite Iran.

"The secretary will continue these efforts".

The Qatari ambassador to the US tweeted a photo of the signing.


Doha says it has a sovereign right to pursue its foreign policy and has sought to internationalise the issue.

The man "has been prosecuted in the state of Qatar, by the law of the state of Qatar, and he's on the global list, and he's sanctioned by the state of Qatar", Al Thani said.

"The Muslim majority nations in Africa feel that they need to make a decision for or against Qatar", Annette Weber, an expert on the Middle East and Africa at the German Institute for global and Security Affairs said.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrives on the tarmac to welcome President Donald Trump as he arrives aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017.

The Saudi-led bloc of nations also cut off sea and air links with Qatar, and ordered Qatari nationals to leave their countries with 14 days. The Americans maintain their largest airbase in the region at Al Udeid.

Top Arab states cutting ties with Qatar is a "collective punishment", Ali Bin Samikh Al-Marri, head of Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), urging the United Nations to investigate the damage done by the blockade. But it isn't just Saudi Arabia that has made the accusation.

"We shall not end ties with either Saudi Arabia or Qatar", Mr Hirsi said. It added that Mattis and Attiyah had also discussed the current state of operations against Islamic State and the importance of de-escalating tensions in the Gulf.


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