Gulf Crisis: US Sees no End Soon to Diplomatic Spat
The US State Department Thursday voiced concern over possible continuation of the crisis between Qatar and the Saudi-led bloc after boycotting countries consider new sanctions following Qatar’s refusal to commit to the demands put forward by the bloc.
“We remain very concerned about that ongoing situation between Qatar and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries,” said spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
“We’ve become increasingly concerned that that dispute is at an impasse at this point. We believe that this could potentially drag on for weeks. It could drag on for months.”
The US and Kuwait have been trying to bridge the divide between Qatar on one hand and Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on the other hand.
The quartet singled out Doha for funding terrorism and imposed on the tiny gulf country air, sea and land blockades. They conditioned lifting of the blockades on 13 demands deemed unrealistic and unenforceable by Qatar.
Wednesday, the four countries, meeting in Cairo at the level of Foreign Ministers, said Qatar’s refusal to abide by the demands was not serious.
In a statement, the quartet blamed Qatar for seeking to undermine their internal security and stability and vowed to take further political, legal and economic sanctions.
“All political, economic and legal measures will be taken in the manner and at the time deemed appropriate to preserve the four countries’ rights, security and stability,” the statement said.
The Foreign Ministers convened to hold another meeting in Bahrain to decide the next steps.
Saudi Arabia Thursday accused Qatar of using Twitter to stoke dissent and cause unrest in the country. The Saudi information minister Awwad Saleh Al-Awwad said Doha was behind over 23,000 Twitter accounts trying to stoke dissent in Saudi Arabia.
According to Saudi authorities, 32 percent of the fake accounts come from Qatar, 28 percent from Lebanon, 24 percent from Turkey and 12 percent from Iraq.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to fly to the region on Monday to meet Kuwaiti authorities that are conducting a mediation in the Gulf rift.