Rex Tillerson calls on Arab nations to ease blockade on Qatar

Trump slams Qatar for funding terror as Tillerson urges calm

Qatar says state news agency first hacked in April

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE and other countries announced they would withdraw diplomatic staff from Qatar. Do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard but necessary action? "We hope that the Qatari authorities will reconsider their politics and reconsider the reasons for the presence of radical entities on their territory that have relations to terrorist organizations in the Persian Gulf region".

Less than two hours earlier, Mr Tillerson had approached the crisis from a different direction - warning that the stand-off between the former Gulf allies was undermining the anti-terror fight. On Monday, regional giant Saudi Arabia abruptly chose to sever all diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar over its relations with another regional giant, Iran, and its alleged funding of extremist groups. A separate SPA report on Saturday acknowledged Tillerson's call for Qatar to curtail support for terrorism, but did not mention his remarks that the crisis was hurting ordinary Qataris, impairing business dealings and harming the U.S. fight against IS.

It is a crucial hub for U.S. military operations in the Middle East, especially the battle against the Islamic State group.

"Every problem should only be solved with a dialogue".

Qatar Petroleum's statement comes during the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the Arab Gulf states in years.

Despite Mr Tillerson's plea for "no further escalation", Mr Trump's sharp comments are likely to further embolden Saudi Arabia and others in their bid to isolate Qatar. "We want you back among the unity of nations".

Those nations, most notably Saudi Arabia, disagree with Qatar over the role of Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Iran. Qatar acknowledges its links to these groups, but denies that it supports terrorism.

The secretary of State said the emir of Qatar has made progress in curbing financial support for extremist groups, "but he must do more and he must do it more quickly".

Trump, in contrast, was much more explicit in condemnation.

The White House said the Mr Trump and Mr Sisi agreed on the importance of all countries implementing agreements to fight terrorism.

"The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding - they have to end that funding", Trump said.

Trump said Saudi Arabia and other nations had talked to him about confronting Qatar in the wake of his recent visit to Riyadh.

Qatar is regional headquarters for U.S. Central Command and home to some 10,000 American troops, as NPR's Scott Horsley has reported.

The crisis started Monday when those four countries cut diplomatic ties and closed all land, sea and air borders with Qatar. "The Defense Logistics Agency is certainly always looking at contingency plans if they're needed, but for right now they're OK".

On Friday, Qatar's foreign minister described the blockade as a violation of worldwide law and said there was an attempt to mobilise global opinion against the Gulf emirate.

The Pentagon said it agreed with Mr Tillerson's analysis of the impact of the blockade.

In the last few days, I have spoken to many leaders in the region. Families are being forcibly separated, and children pulled out of school.

"Our president has also stressed the need to resolve this upsetting issue before the end of Ramadan, as it is against our religion, beliefs, and traditions, especially during the month of Ramadan", Cavusoglu said. "But they can be addressed immediately".

The US stance on Qatar has been roiled has by the mixed messages from the start.

"It could force Qatar to abandon its foreign policy objectives - or it could convince Qatar that it's surrounded by bullies and the US won't protect it and a closer alliance with Turkey and Iran could guarantee its long-term viability", Kamel said.

"There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade", Mr Tillerson said in Washington.

The president spoke to the Emir of Qatar Wednesday and proposed a meeting with Gulf leaders to resolve the tension in the region.

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