Saudi ally Bahrain demands Qatar distance itself from Iran

The Middle East powder keg: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran all see tensions rise

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain led a string of countries that cut ties with Qatar over what they say is the emirate's financing of extremist groups and its ties to Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional arch-rival.

Tillerson said the Gulf states should "immediately take steps to deescalate the situation and put forth a good faith effort to resolve their grievances with each other".

The announcement increases pressure on Qatar in a diplomatic and economic campaign to isolate the small Gulf Arab state, which is a critical global supplier of gas and hosts the biggest US military base in the Middle East.

In a strong-worded opening remarks, Trump alleged that Qatar was funding terrorism at the "highest level" and asked other countries doing the same to stop with immediate effect.

"The blockade is hindering US military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS", Tillerson said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Qatar must do more, "more quickly" to combat extremism.

The three Arab Gulf countries and Egypt accuse Qatar of supporting armed groups and their regional rival, Iran.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced his support for Qatar, saying that the isolation of the oil-rich country is not in anyone's interest.


Qatar is home to the largest USA military base in the region.

Trump sealed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia on his maiden foreign trip in May.

On June 5, the Qatari Ministry of Defense transmitted a message to the governments of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, saying they would fire on any naval ships from those countries that enter into its waters, a United States official said.

Saudi Arabia has also closed off Qatar's only land border.

"We see Qatar as a brother state, as a partner", he told a joint press conference with German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel, according to the German simultaneous translation.

Qatar acknowledges its links to these groups, but denies that it supports terrorism.

Now, the situation in the Arabian Gulf over the last few days is troubling to the United States, the region, and to many people who are directly affected.

Gabriel said Germany "worried about the possible consequences and a growing escalation" after the "very tough" measures taken against Qatar.

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