Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
WASHINGTON D.C. — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday that the ongoing blockade of Qatar by other Gulf region countries is harming the U.S. effort to fight ISIS, according to a statement made in the early afternoon at the State Department.
“We call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar. We believe these are unintended consequences, especially during this holy month of Ramadan, but they can be addressed immediately.” Tillerson remarked on Friday.
The incident started earlier this week when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt all broke off diplomatic ties with Qatar and began a blockade of the small oil-rich country that is scheduled to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The main reason for the blockade is the Qatari relationship with Iran, which is more open than other Gulf countries. Another sticking point is the close relationships that the Qatari Royal Family has with terrorist groups, including Hamas and an Al Qaeda-linked group in Syria.
President Donald Trump made his thoughts known on Twitter, saying that it was “…So Good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off.”
Tillerson was more diplomatic in his statement and hinted that a solution was possible, saying “It is clear to me based on these conversations that the elements of a solution are available. Our expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to de-escalate the situation and put forth a good faith effort to resolve their grievances they have with each other.”