Another US senator endorses arms embargo during crisis

28 June 2017, 01:49 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Led by Saudi Arabia, a number of GCC and African countries cut diplomatic relations with Qatar on June 5, accusing the government in Doha of financing terrorism, ties with Iran, and interfering in the internal affairs of other states.

"Before we provide any further clearances during the informal review period on sales of lethal military equipment to the GCC states, we need a better understanding of the path to resolve the current dispute and reunify the GCC", Corker wrote.

"Qatar has begun its careful review and consideration of a series of requests presented by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE", Tillerson said in a statement issued from Washington.

Under the foreign arms sale process with the Pentagon and State Department, if any one of those four lawmakers disapproves of a sale, it does not move forward to be formally notified to Congress.

President Donald Trump initially expressed his support for the actions taken against Qatar despite it hosting the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East. We endorse and appreciate Qatar's stance towards the 13 demands.

Saudi Arabia reiterated Tuesday that its demands on Qatar were not negotiable, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks with the Qatari foreign minister on the Gulf states crisis.

Earlier this month, the Senate narrowly fended off a bid to block a Trump administration plan to sell Saudi Arabia $500m in precision-guided munitions, part of a proposed $110bn arms sales package announced during the president's visit to Riyadh last month.

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Trump considered Corker as a potential vice president and secretary of state, and he works closely with the White House.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalif bin Ahmed al-Khalfa insisted that Bahrain's disputes were only "diplomatic and security oriented", and that Qatar had made them military in nature by "bringing in foreign armies and their armored vehicles".

Tillerson has urged a diplomatic solution, and Washington has been pushing for a clear list of grievances that are "reasonable and actionable".

The Arab powers gives Qatar only 10 days to comply or the offer will be void.

Tillerson said Sunday that a number of the demands on Qatar would be "very hard to meet", and urged the USA allies to resolve their dispute.

In a Wall Street Journal interview on Sunday, Secretary Tillerson, who has called for mediated peace as the side address their grievances, addressed these demands saying "While some of the elements will be very hard for Qatar to meet, there are significant areas which provide a basis for ongoing dialogue leading to resolution".

The three Arab Gulf countries, along with Egypt, which also severed relations, have not provided any evidence for their claims, while Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations as "baseless". "Qatar is not going to stop talking to the Iranians, and we need to help the Saudis understand that", he said.



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