Tillerson urges Saudi-led coalition to end Qatar blockade

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US secretary of state Rex Tillerson called for an end to the blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar on Friday

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson called for an end to the blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar on Friday, saying the “troubling situation” was imposing hardship and hindering US military efforts in the campaign against Isis.

“We call on the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar,” he told reporters in Washington DC.

“There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade,” said Mr Tillerson, saying families were being forcibly separated, children were being pulled out of school and the country was experiencing food shortages.

“The blockade is hindering US military actions in the region and the campaign against Isis,” he said, adding he called for calm and thoughtful dialogue to immediately deescalate the situation.

Saudi Arabia and three allies cut ties with Qatar, which it accuses of funding terrorist groups throughout the region, this week, triggering a diplomatic crisis that has consumed the Gulf and drawn in the US, Turkey, Russia and Iran.

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