The US military has halted some exercises with its Gulf Arab allies over the ongoing diplomatic crisis targeting Qatar, AP reports.
“We are opting out of some military exercises out of respect for the concept of inclusiveness and shared regional interests,” US Central Command said.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — fellow members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, which it denies.
On June 22, the GCC sent a 13-point list of demands aimed to push Qatar to cease any attempts to execute an independent foreign policy in the region. According to a report by Qatar owned Al-Jazeera “Qatari officials immediately dismissed the document as neither reasonable or actionable.” The list included closing Al-Jazeera and other media outlets Qatar funds, reducing diplomatic relations and cutting off military relations and with Iran. Iran denounced the blockade. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that some of the demands would be very hard to meet but encouraged further dialog. Qatar did not comply with the demands.
On July 5, the four Arab nations leading a boycott of Qatar cut down the list of demands from 13 points to 6. But on July 30 they reinstated all 13 demands, which prompted Qatar’s finance minister to call for the blockade to end, saying that his country had continued supplying 40 per cent of the UAE’s daily liquid natural gas consumption.
According to a statement ann International Monetary Fund official made on August 30, Qatar’s government has acted effectively in protecting the economy against sanctions imposed by other Arab countries, by rerouting trade disrupted by the sanctions and establishing new sources of food supply.