Tillerson said Friday in Washington that after speaking with leaders in the region, he believes the countries involved in the dispute — all U.S. allies — are stronger together, and “the elements of a solution are available.” Even so, he said, Qatar must do more to combat extremism.
A group of Gulf nations led by Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties as well as land, sea and air travel with Qatar on June 5, accusing the country of supporting Sunni extremist groups and Iranian-backed Shiite militants to destabilize the region. The crisis has thrust the U.S. into a delicate position because of its alliances with all sides — and because Qatar hosts the nerve center for U.S. air operations in the Middle East, including the fight against Islamic State.
Tillerson said the blockade had led to food shortages and forced families to uproot themselves and pull their children from school.
“We believe there are unintended consequences, especially during this holy month of Ramadan but they can be addressed immediately,” Tillerson said.