Pompeo presses for resolution to Gulf dispute

Pompeo presses for resolution to Gulf dispute
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Progressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting Progressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting MORE called on Arab nations to resolve their dispute with Qatar on Wednesday during a meeting with officials in Kuwait.

During a news conference with Kuwait's foreign minister, Pompeo called for an end to the boycott of Qatar led by Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations over accusations that Qatar's government funds Islamist extremist groups in the region, according to The Associated Press.

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“It’s not in the best interest of the region, it’s not in the best interest of the world,” Pompeo reportedly said. “We need the Gulf countries working together on the complex set of challenges that face each of them.”

Pointing to threats from terrorist groups and Iran, Pompeo said that the region's interests would be better served by Qatar working together with its neighbors to resolve differences peacefully and work to counter extremism.

“We are working to help those countries find a set of common ground,” he said, according to the AP. “We all have the same set of threats, the threats from al Qaeda and from [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria], the threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran. We all are working diligently to find a path forward so that the rift between those countries can be resolved.”

Qatar's relationship with Iran, however, is seen as a hurdle to re-establishing normal relationships with Saudi Arabia and its neighbors. Qatar re-established normal ties with Iran in 2017 during a blockade of the country led by Saudi Arabia, and shares a large offshore oil field with the country.

Officials in Qatar's government agreed in late 2017 to crack down on extremism and funding lines for terrorist groups following a visit from Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinCharitable giving by individuals down in first year under Trump's tax law: study Charitable giving by individuals down in first year under Trump's tax law: study Congressional leaders, White House officials to meet Wednesday on spending MORE.