Tillerson, Mattis reward Qatar regardless of ongoing rift with Saudis

Reuters

The secretary made his remarks in a news conference following the dialogue, along with State Department Secretary Rex W. Tillerson, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, and Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah. US base in Qatar provides a sense of security to the country at a time of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East over the ongoing strife between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Yemen, which cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June previous year, accusing it of supporting terrorism. He urges all parties involving GCC crisis to minimise rhetoric and work towards a resolution. We look forward to building on the existing infrastructure of our historic and strategic relationship through exploring a way in which we are able to expand our bilateral co-ordination and further our efforts to realising our shared objective of peace, security and prosperity for our nation and beyond, the minister noted. "This dispute has had direct negative consequences economically and militarily for those involved, as well as the United States". However the overall significance of the dialogue on the blockade and US-Qatar partnership is still awaited.

Referring to the Gulf crisis, he said: 'To protect the sovereignty and fight for its independence, the courageous people of Qatar stood firmly with their leader in face of mounting hostility directed towards their country. "A united GCC bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts, particularly on countering terrorism, defeating ISIS, and countering the spread of Iran's malign influence". Defence Secretary James Mattis said that the USA enjoys a longstanding defence relationship with Qatar.

The secretary said the United States is grateful to Qatar for its longstanding support of America's continuing commitment to regional security, one that includes information sharing and counterterrorism training.


The rift has been cause for concern, especially in terms of military cooperation. He further stated that "As the Gulf dispute nears the eight-month mark, the United States remains as concerned today as we were at its outset".

Al Jazeera reported that the two countries announced they would be signing a number of "major" agreements in the sectors of defence, trade, investment and energy. Tillerson's remarks, said Culhane, were to indicate that "the USA establishment - the secretaries of state and defence - want to see the GCC crisis end".

'The Al Udeid Air Base, which now hosts 11,000 of your fearless men and women, has been at the epicentre of the global fight against terrorism.

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