Published: Sat, June 10, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Arab crisis worsens as Qataris, allies enter Saudi terror list


Qatar denies having any ties to extremists. The president has claimed that his conversations there pushed him to call out Qatar.

Tensions continue to escalate in the Middle East.

After Trump waved the starting flag, there was an immediate effect on the ground.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters at the State Department that in addition to "creating a hardship on the people of Qatar" the ongoing blockade by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt is "hindering" the us -led effort to combat Daesh.

Trump's comments came shortly after Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Arab nations to immediately ease their blockade on Qatar.

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Tillerson said the blockade had led to food shortages in tiny Qatar and forced families to uproot themselves and pull their children from school.

He said there have been multiple reports issued by official agencies in the United States "commending our role in combating terror financing".

"U.S. presence in Qatar is so critical to our campaign against ISIS and our aerial campaign in the region", Cilluffo said.

Tillerson also said the blockade by Qatar's neighbors was "hindering USA military action in the region, and the campaign against ISIS", using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

But Qatar sees itself as a key Middle East ally of the USA and there are around 10,000 U.S. servicemen based in the country.

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"We are convinced that now is the hour of diplomacy and we must talk to each other; along with our American colleagues but above all our colleagues in the region, we must try to find solutions, especially lifting the sea and air blockades", he told reporters afterwards.

After severance of diplomatic ties earlier this week, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made a decision to ban any form of sympathy with the tiny Gulf State of Qatar, threatening sympathizers with jail terms of up to 15 years and an AED 500 thousand fine.

Qatar Airways is working to reassure travelers and travel sellers that its long-distance worldwide flights are operating normally, despite the decision earlier this week by neighboring countries to sever diplomatic ties with the Gulf State of Qatar. Tillerson said the US was asking Qatar to "be responsive to the concerns of its neighbors".

Al-Jazeera offices have been shut down by authorities in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. 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".

The blockade is also hindering USA military action in the region and its campaign against Islamic State, he said. Tillerson sat a few feet away from Trump in the Rose Garden as the president put the blame squarely on Qatar.

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Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain lead a string of countries that this week cut ties with Qatar over what they say is the emirate's financing of extremist groups and its ties to Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional arch-rival. He added that Qatar is leading an "effective fight" against terrorism.

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