The United States has praised Qatar’s “strong partnership” in the fight against “terrorism,” but accused individuals and “entities” in Saudi Arabia of channeling money out of the country to “terrorist” organizations.
The State Department made the remakes in its annual “Country Reports on Terrorism” released on Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported.
Qatar had “maintained a strong partnership in the fight against terrorism in 2016 and collaborated to foster closer regional and international cooperation on counterterrorism, law enforcement and rule of law activities,” the State Department noted.
The department said Qatar has made “significant progress” in fighting terrorist financing but “terrorist financiers within the country are still able to exploit Qatar’s informal financial system.”
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed a land, air and sea blockade on the tiny nation , accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation rejected by the Qatari government.
President Donald Trump had sided with the Saudi-led bloc, accusing Qatar of funding terrorism. “The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level,” he said last month.
The comments came shortly after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had urged Saudi Arabia and its regional allies to ease their blockade of Qatar.
Meanwhile, the State Department said that individuals and “entities” in Saudi Arabia had been providing money to “terrorist” organizations.
But it added Saudi Arabia is making efforts to stop the illegal outflow of funds to terrorists. “Saudi Arabia continued to maintain a strong counterterrorism relationship with the United States.”
Less than a year ago on the campaign trail, Trump vilified the Saudi influence on US foreign policy, openly accused the kingdom of being complicit in the 9/11 terror attacks, and demanded the US be paid for protecting the monarchy.
But Trump selected Saudi Arabia for his first overseas trip. According to observers, this signals that the US president is willing to embrace a country responsible for widespread human rights violations and an escalating humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
The Saudi kingdom has been bombing Yemen for over two years and killing thousands of civilians there.
The US and Saudi Arabia, along with their some regional allies, stand accused of providing weapons and financial backing to various militant groups wreaking havoc in countries like Syria and Iraq.