US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said he was satisfied with Qatar’s efforts to resolve a diplomatic crisis that has pitted it against Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Speaking ahead of a meeting with Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the foreign minister of Oman, which has remained neutral in the dispute, Tillerson yesterday noted “positive movement” in talks since he visited the region ten days ago. “The Qataris have continued to move forward on the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that the US and Qatar entered into to address many of the terrorism, terror financing, counter-terrorism concerns that people have,” he said. “So we’re, I think we’re satisfied with the effort they’re putting forth,” he continued.
“I hope the four countries will consider as a sign of good faith lifting this land blockade, which is really having the most, I think, negative effects on the Qatari people,” he added, referring to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. The four powers cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their Shiite rival Iran — charges which Doha denies.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE in particular have been critical of Tillerson’s efforts, accusing him of being too sympathetic toward Qatar. Qatar’s ruler said yesterday that the Gulf emirate is ready for dialogue to resolve the diplomatic crisis with a Saudi-led bloc so long as his country’s sovereignty is respected.