U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Doha, Qatar on Sunday to meet with Qatari leaders and key U.S. military leaders and said during a joint press conference that the U.S. doesn’t have any intention to impose a solution on anyone in the current dispute between Qatar and 4 Arab Gulf states that erupted on June 5, 2017 and led to the expulsion of diplomats as well as trade and travel bans.
Diplomatic ties were severed on June 5, 2017 between Qatar and Arab Gulf neighbors Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE that increased tensions in the Middle East after the 4 Arab Gulf states accused Qatar of funding terrorism, violating a 2014 Gulf Cooperation Council agreement concerning regional economic and political cooperation, and criticized the country for supporting Iran and its media coverage with Al Jazeera.
U.S. President Trump offered on September 7th in a joint press conference with Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah to help end the dispute by serving as a mediator between Qatar and Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.
“If I can help mediate between Qatar and, in particular, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, I would be willing to do so. And I think you’d have a deal worked out very quickly” President Trump said during a joint press conference from the East Room in the White House.
In early June President Trump returned from a Middle East trip with Arab leaders tweeting about how leaders pointed to Qatar when he spoke about the need to stop the funding of radical ideology.
“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!” President Trump tweeted on June 6th.
During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2017
Qatar is home to the largest known U.S. base in the Middle East with over 10,000 U.S. troops stationed at Al Udeid Air Base.
During Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to Qatar on Sunday which is aimed at discussing joint counter-terrorism efforts, the ongoing Gulf dispute with Qatar and Arab neighbors, and bilateral issues related to Iran and Iraq, he told reporters the U.S. is prepared to facilitate in any way possible, including having discussions or offering possible roadmaps for solutions.
Secretary Tillerson said that it’s time that “solutions are sought” between Qatar and the Gulf states and he will continue to make that point known.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani said in the joint press conference that they are the victim of this “manufactured crisis against the state of Qatar” which he explained is due to the irresponsible actions by the blockading countries.
Foreign Minister Al-Thani said that from their position, holding any Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting would present a “golden opportunity” at least to commence this dialogue in a civilized way through civilized and well-known official channels.
He also spoke about the need to begin discussing the reasons behind the “manufactured crisis.”
Asked about the spread of Iran’s influence in the region, Qatari Foreign Minister Al-Thani said his country is against any negative influence in the region and noted they “have been very clear expressing those concerns with Iran and with anyone who has such any negative influence there.”
Foreign Minister Al-Thani reported that the current crisis between Qatar and their Gulf neighbors is undermining efforts in countering terrorism and they remain committed that all the problems in the region need to be resolved through a dialogue.
On October 13th U.S. President Donald Trump decided to remove the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and five other world powers by refusing to certify the historic accord and criticized the international inspections process over Iran’s nuclear program.
U.S. Congress has 60 days to decide if the U.S. should reinstate sanctions on Tehran that were relieved during the 2015 nuclear accord.
One of the core elements of President Trump’s new strategy towards Iran focuses on “neutralizing Iran’s destabilizing influence” and constraining its aggression, related to its “support for terrorism and militants.”
President Trump declared that the Iranian regime has “taken advantage of regional conflicts and instability to aggressively expand its regional influence and threaten its neighbors with little domestic or international cost for its actions” while admitting that Tehran is trying to establish a bridge from Iran to Lebanon and Syria.
The Trump administration reported on October 13th that their Iran policy “will address the totality of these threats from and malign activities by the Government of Iran and will seek to bring about a change in the Iranian’s regime’s behavior” while placing more emphasis on reducing the influence of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that was described as not accountable to the Iranian people and only answering to Supreme Leader Khamenei.
President Trump’s strategic plan states that the IRGC has armed Syrian President Bashar Assad in Syria, influenced the Houthis in Yemen, tried to gain control over large portions of Iran’s economy, choke off competition, and work to weaken and undermine Iran’s neighbors through the perpetration of chaos and instability.
Secretary Of State Tillerson To Visit Islamabad, New Dehli, and Geneva This Week
U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson will be traveling to Southeast Asia this week.
The State Department said on October 19th that U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson will follow up with President Trump’s August 21st speech, outlining his administration’s comprehensive strategy towards Southeast Asia while he meets with Pakistani and Indian leaders.
As he travels to Geneva later this week, Secretary Tillerson will meet with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other leaders to discuss Afghanistan, Pakistan, and humanitarian crises across the globe.
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