Published: Tue, October 31, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Bahrain foreign minister calls for freezing Qatar out of GCC

There were earlier stops in Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, where the US in May announced the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, a US-Gulf initiative to stem finance to militant groups.

Pentagon begins pulling back ships from Puerto Rico Tillerson: "Reign of the Assad family is coming to an end" in Syria MORE also visited Qatar last week in an attempt to play mediator in the Gulf crisis, which began in June when a Saudi Arabia-led group of countries, including Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE, cut ties with Qatar and imposed a de facto blockade. Doha denies the charges.

Bahrain will not attend the upcoming GCC summit if Qatar does not change its stand, and the right step to preserve the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is to freeze Qatar's membership, Bahrain's foreign minister said on Twitter on Sunday.

But Doha is home to al-Udeid Air Base, the United States' largest base in the Middle East.

"They don't like our independence, the way how we are thinking, our vision for the region", Sheikh Tamin said Sunday.

"I told him straightaway, 'Mr President, we are very ready".

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke by phone with Qatar's emir on September 8 in the first publicly reported contact between the two leaders since the crisis began. However, there have been no further contacts.

On June 22, the quartet issued a 13-point list of demands, including the shutdown of Qatar-based media network Al Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran, and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country as a prerequisite to lifting the blockade.

In an interview with USA broadcaster CBS News broadcast on Sunday, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said he wanted an end to the dispute and warned against any military escalation.

Qatar has agreed to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States to crack down on illicit financing of militant groups, a joint Qatari-US statement said on Monday following a visit by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

"I'm fearful that if anything happens, if any military act happens, this region will be in chaos", the Qatari ruler told the U.S. broadcaster CBS on Sunday.

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