Bob Corker, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said disputes between Gulf states ‘hurt efforts’ against IS and Iran.
(MEE) — The Republican head of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has said he will block arms sales to the Gulf states until the on-going diplomatic crisis with Qatar is resolved.
Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the committee, said in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that conflicts among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council undermine efforts to counter threats in the region.
“All countries in the region need to do more to combat terrorism, but recent disputes among the GCC only serve to hurt efforts to fight ISIS and counter Iran,” said the letter.
“For these reasons, before we provide any further clearances during the informal review period of sales of lethal military equipment to the GCC states, we need a better understanding of the path to resolve the current dispute and reunify the GCC.”
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) June 26, 2017
Corker and Tillerson have a close relationship. They speak frequently on foreign policy issues.
Tillerson said on Sunday that Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which imposed the boycott on their tiny but wealthy neighbor should sit down together to try to reach a resolution. He urged them to “lower rhetoric” to ease tensions.
The four countries have sent a 13-point list of demands apparently aimed at dismantling Qatar‘s two-decade-old interventionist foreign policy, which has incensed them. Kuwait is helping mediate the dispute.
Under US law, foreign US arms sales are submitted to a small group of lawmakers, including the chairman of the Foreign Relations committee, for clearance during an informal review process before they can go ahead.
In his letter, Corker said he was pleased with President Donald Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia, which included a summit of the GCC.
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