Qatar, US sign agreement on fighting terrorism

Qatar and the US announced Tuesday (July 11th) they have signed an agreement on fighting terrorism, at a time when the emirate is facing sanctions from neighbouring countries which accuse it of supporting extremism.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani made the announcement at a joint news conference in Doha, AFP reported.

Tillerson said the agreement was built on decisions made at a Riyadh summit in May to "wipe terrorism from the face of the Earth".

"These commitments for action will begin immediately on a number of fronts," he said.

Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar was the first country in the region to sign a bilateral agreement with Washington on counter terror funding and called on what he called the "siege" nations to follow suit and sign their own agreements with the US.

Tillerson's arrival in Doha Tuesday was overshadowed by the publication of pre-existing confidential agreements between Qatar and other Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states in which all sides had pledged to combat terror funding and avoid interference in other states.

Publication of the accords, dated 2013 and 2014, caused both sides in the deadlocked dispute to launch a fresh round of mutual accusations over ties to Islamist extremist groups.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on June 5th announced sanctions, effective immediately, against Qatar over accusations Doha supported Islamist extremism and was too close to Iran.

The four states severed all diplomatic ties, suspended transport links with Doha and ordered all Qataris to return home within 14 days.

On June 22nd, the Saudi-led bloc issued a list of 13 demands which, if met, would end the sanctions, including downgrading ties to Iran and shutting a Turkish military base in Doha.

Qatar refused to comply with the demands and has consistently denied accusations of ties to Islamist groups.

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