Stop funding terror, teaching hate: Trump to Qatar


Tillerson's earlier statement that the "blockade" of Qatar is hurting USA economic and military efforts in the region contradicts Pentagon officials' insistence earlier in the week that there has been no impact on US operations in Qatar, or the fight against ISIS.

Trump accused Doha of funding such groups at a "very high level" as Gulf states - led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE - launch a media and diplomatic war on Qatar. "Do we take the easy road, or do we finally take a hard but necessary action?" he said. "I'm sorry, we will continue to give Qatar every kind of support", he said.

Tillerson told reporters at the State Department shortly before Trump spoke that this blockade is hindering the USA -led military campaign against ISIS, creating hardships for the people of Qatar and "impairing us and other worldwide business activities in the region". He said families were being separated, children removed from school and Qataris forced to deal with food shortages. "The elements of a solution are available", Tillerson said at the State Department.

The conflicting signals suggested Tillerson was playing "good cop" to Trump's tougher-talking "bad cop". It is a crucial hub for USA military operations in the Middle East, especially the battle against the Islamic State group.

Also named were Doha-based Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Qatari-funded charities.

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One U.S. official said that while Qatar needs to do more to combat terrorist financing, it was inaccurate to single out that Gulf nation. "It's not clear which direction they're heading".

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have cut ties with Qatar, accusing their former Gulf Cooperation Council ally of supporting extremist groups.

Qatar acknowledges its links to these groups but denies that it supports terrorism.

Tillerson's plea to Qatar's neighbors to pull back their efforts to isolate the tiny gas-rich nation marked a shift from previous statements by the Trump administration. 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".

"I won't name other countries but we are not done solving the problem, but we will solve that problem", he said.

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Saudi Arabia has been criticized in the past for exporting a militant interpretation of Islam and because 15 of the 19 hijackers in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States were Saudi citizens.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he expected all parties to find a resolution.

Mohammed al-Sada said in a statement: "circumstances in the region shall not prevent the state of Qatar from honouring its global commitment of cutting its oil production".

"Our position on countering terrorism is stronger than numerous signatories of the joint statement - a fact that has been conveniently ignored by the authors", the government said.

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