US-Qatar Counter Terrorism Agreement 'Not Enough' for Saudis

Published July 12th, 2017 - 07:00 GMT
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) speaks with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. (AFP)
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) speaks with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. (AFP)
The four Arab states leading the boycott of Qatar said on Tuesday that a counter-terrorism agreement signed between Doha and Washington was not sufficient and that their sanctions would remain in place until it meets their demands.

The United States and Qatar signed an agreement on Tuesday aimed at combatting the financing of terrorism, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Doha to try to end a month-long rift between Western-allied Arab states.

In a joint statement released in their state media, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt said they appreciated US efforts in fighting terrorism, and that the agreement was as a result of "repeated pressures and demands of the four countries and their partners over the past years to stop supporting terrorism".

But they added it was "not enough" and called for "strict controls to verify [Qatar's] seriousness in returning to the normal and right path".

The statement added sanctions on Doha would continue "until the Qatari authorities are committed to the implementation of the just and full demands that will ensure that terrorism, stability and security in the region are addressed".

The four states imposed sanctions on Qatar last month, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with the Gulf Arab states' arch-foe Iran - allegations Doha denies.

Qatar's FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on Tuesday Qatar is the first country in the region to sign such an agreement and called on the boycotting states to join as signatories.

He added that the signing was "not related to the recent crisis and the blockade imposed against Qatar".

Tillerson praised Qatar for signing the deal, and for committing to the effort "to track down and disable terror financing". 

"The US has one goal: To drive terrorism off the face of the earth," Tillerson said.

"Together the United States and Qatar will do more to track down funding sources, will do more to collaborate and share information, and will do more to keep the region and our homeland safe."

Senior Tillerson adviser R.C. Hammond said the deal outlines "future efforts Qatar can take to fortify its fight against terrorism and actively address terrorism funding issues".

Earlier Tillerson told reporters in Doha that Qatar had "reasonable" views in the month-old diplomatic row with Arab neighbours and he was hopeful of progress towards a resolution.

Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.

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