Pom­peo takes up cud­gels for Qatar

The Mercury - - WORLD - |

US SEC­RE­TARY of State Mike Pom­peo said yes­ter­day an on­go­ing boy­cott of Qatar by four of Amer­ica’s al­lies in the Mid­dle East “has dragged on too long,” though he gave no sign of any com­ing break­through in the dis­pute.

Stop­ping off in the small, en­ergy-rich na­tion as part of a Mideast tour, he said “great things” were hap­pen­ing be­tween Qatar and the US.

Pom­peo said he signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Qatar re­gard­ing the ex­pan­sion and ren­o­va­tion of al-Udeid Air Base, which hosts the for­ward head­quar­ters of the US mil­i­tary’s Cen­tral Com­mand and some 10 000 Amer­i­can troops.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Ara­bia and the United Arab Emi­rates be­gan a boy­cott of Qatar in 2017, al­leg­ing Qatar funds ex­trem­ist groups and had close ties to Iran.

Qatar has de­nied fund­ing ex­trem­ists, but Doha shares a mas­sive off­shore nat­u­ral gas field with Tehran.

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