GOP senator to block arms sales over crisis with Qatar

Influential Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker said in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the ongoing dispute within the GCC hamper efforts to combat Daesh and counter the Iranian republic.

Senator Bob Corker in a letter to the State Department said that rift between the allies has weakened the fight against the Islamic State and Iran.

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday a list of demands made by the Kingdom and other Arab states for Qatar to stop supporting terrorism was not negotiable.

Corker's office said in a statement that major arms sales are also subject to "preliminary approval" by the chairman and vice-chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee before the 30-stay congressional review process. Qatar has denied those assertions and countered that the moves are a play by the Saudis to dominate its neighbors.


"I could not have been more pleased with (President Donald Trump's) recent trip to Saudi Arabia".

The decision will not affect a $500m weapons sale to the country that Congress failed to block earlier this month.

They also imposed a trade blockade of Qatar, a travel ban on Qatari nationals, and even deported 15,000 Qatari-owned camels from their summer pastures in Saudi Arabia.

Gabriel told an event hosted by the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin that Germany remained in close touch with all sides to try to reduce tensions resulting from the biggest diplomatic crisis in the region in years. He also said Qatar was by no means the only country in the region responsible for funding terrorism, and added Europe had to do more to influence USA thinking in the Middle East.


Fox News reported last week that among the demands are that Qatar would shut down the media outlet Al-Jazeera, cut ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, and remove its military base in Turkey.

Tillerson said in a statement Sunday that several of the demands Saudi Arabia and the other countries have placed on Qatar "will be very hard to meet".

"Qatar has begun its careful review and consideration of a series of requests presented by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and U.A.E.", Tillerson said Sunday.

Mr. Fawzi, an Egyptian citizen, was released after a few days in prison and fled the country for Qatar before coming to the U.S. He was tried in abstentia, sentenced to 10 years in prison and designated an worldwide terrorist.


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".


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