US and Qatar sign anti-terrorism agreement amid Gulf dispute

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani meets with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Credit: MOFA

Qatar will work with the US to establish a better way to combat terrorism financing, officials have announced.

The countries signed an agreement this week as Qatar continues to be embroiled in a dispute with its neighbors in part over allegations that it financially supports terrorist groups.

However, the boycotting nations have said the move is “not enough.”

For illustrative purposes only. Credit: QNA

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency, they said they will continue to isolate Qatar until “authorities are committed to the implementation of the just and full demands that will ensure that terrorism is addressed and stability and security are established in the region.”

Meanwhile in Qatar, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said yesterday that the new deal has been in the works for weeks.

He added that it had “no direct or indirect connection to the Gulf crisis or the siege imposed on Qatar.”

That said, Al Thani signed the MoU with his counterpart US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday during the US official’s visit to Qatar.

Tillerson is in the region this week specifically to help mediate the ongoing Gulf dispute, which has left Qatar at odds with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

Few details

Officials did not go into specifics about what the MoU entails, but Tillerson said it outlines the steps each country will take to stop terrorism financing globally.

It also sets a timeline for its implementation.

According to AFP, the official expressed optimism about the Gulf dispute after meeting Qatar’s Emir:

“I’m hopeful we can make some progress to bring this to a point of resolution.
I think Qatar has been quite clear in its positions and I think very reasonable and we want to talk now … how do we take things forward, and that’s my purpose in coming.”

However, mediator Kuwait expressed clear exasperation yesterday as the crisis continues into its second month.

According to Kuwait’s official news agency, Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah expressed “bitterness” and is “extremely concerned” over “unprecedented developments” regarding the dispute.

He will however continue to help with mediation efforts.

And Tillerson will meet with foreign ministers from the four boycotting countries in Saudi Arabia today.

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