U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis – Pentagon Facebook page
CAIRO – 31 December 2017: U.S. Defense Department called Qatar Saturday to de-escalate the tensions in the Middle East and to encourage all Gulf partners to focus their efforts on rooting out the Islamic State (IS) and facing Iran’s threats in the region.
In a Pentagon’s statement released on Saturday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke with his Qatari counterpart Khalid al-Attiyah on the phone to congratulate him for assuming the post, stressing the importance of de-escalating the tensions between Qatar and the Arab quartet.
In September, U.S. President Donald Trump declared his willingness to step in and mediate in the worst dispute in decades among the U.S.-allied Arab states and Qatar, after Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad had sought President Donald Trump’s mediation in his crisis with the Arab States which came as a result of Qatar being accused of funding terrorism by the Arab Quartet.
On June 5, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Yemen decided to cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar, hurling allegations that the state supports terrorism. Ports and airspaces were cut off to Qatari vessels. Since then, Kuwait has played a role of mediator to put an end to this rift. U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, also held several meetings with the disputed parties to heal the rift, but the discussions reached a stalemate.
Despite all the diplomatic efforts to end the crisis, a solution has not been reached yet and the crisis is still ongoing due to Qatar’s stubborn policy and lack of effort in reconciliation attempts. The Gulf States need a clear signal that Qatar is willing to re-examine its position regarding extremism and terrorism.
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