Qatar signs MOU to curb terrorism funding

The United States and Qatar signed an agreement on combating terrorism and its financing during a visit to Doha by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

KUWAIT CITY • The United States and Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) yesterday on steps the Persian Gulf nation will take to stop the funding of terrorism, US officials said.

The agreement aims to encourage Qatar's neighbours to abandon their embargo on the country.

The MOU was announced in the Qatar capital of Doha, where US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent the day working to resolve a regional feud that the United States fears could derail efforts to fight groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and could embolden Iran.

Mr Tillerson flies to the Saudi city of Jeddah today to discuss the crisis with foreign ministers from the four Arab states leading the boycott - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

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The Arab bloc placed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar a month ago, accusing it of providing financial support to terrorist groups. Qatar has rejected 13 broad demands from those nations, including closing the television network Al Jazeera, which criticises many governments in the region.

Qatar has denied the charges, and considers the embargo an infringement on its sovereignty and independence.

Though President Donald Trump has sided with Saudi Arabia in the row, Mr Tillerson told reporters in Doha that Qatar's views were "reasonable" and that he is optimistic the differences can be reconciled.

"I am hopeful we can make some progress to begin to bring this to a point of resolution," Mr Tillerson said yesterday.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2017, with the headline 'Qatar signs MOU to curb terrorism funding'. Print Edition | Subscribe