Trump accuses Qatar of funding terror 'at a very high level'

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Shortly after Tillerson's remarks, the Pentagon said that while the Qatar blockade was not affecting current operations against Islamic State, it was "hindering" the ability to plan for long-term operations. The consulate general's statement further said, "Shias and Sunnis are living in complete peaceful co-existence in Iran and all religions have condemned the terrorist and extremist groups and consider them to be the alien agents tarnishing the image of Islam". But Trump said that he, Tillerson and military leaders had decided during Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia last month that a public rebuke was needed.

"There has been no impact on our operations either in Qatar or with regards to airspace permission around it and we don't anticipate there will be", Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said on Tuesday.

"The emir of Qatar has made progress in halting financial support and expelling terrorists from his country, but he must do more and he must do it more quickly", he said.

It wasn't immediately clear how Trump's sharp condemnation might affect USA cooperation with Qatar, which hosts some 10,000 US troops and a major USA air base that serves as a staging ground for operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the lifting of a blockade on Qatar on Friday after approving legislation on deploying Turkish troops there, as the Gulf state faces isolation imposed by fellow Arab states over its alleged support for terrorism.

US President Donald Trump, who initially offered to help Qatar mediate through the crisis, also attacked Doha, accusing the monarchy of sponsoring terrorism.

Saudi Arabia's closure of Qatar's only land border earlier this week sparked fears of major price hikes and food shortages for its population of 2.7 million people, with long queues forming as some supermarkets began running out of stock.

Tillerson also noted that the Gulf countries - all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and all involved in the fight against ISIS - have to stay unified for the sake of that effort.

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"It's clear to me based on these conversation that the elements of a solution are available", Tillerson said.

"You have to work for bringing brothers together". "They can be addressed immediately", he said.

In an apparent escalation of the crisis, staff at Al Jazeera, Qatar's influential satellite television news channel which often infuriates the rulers of the Arab world, said its computer systems had come under cyber attack. The official added, "easing those restrictions not the same as complete diplomatic relations".

Referring to Tillerson's comments on the blockade, Erdogan said in a speech at a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner in Istanbul: "I say it should be lifted completely".

But US officials insisted that both men were sending the same message that the countries of the region should not allow their differences to hinder the fight against extremism.

Tillerson said that the U.S. will throw its weight behind efforts by the Emir of Kuwait to act as a mediator to bring about a resolution to the crisis, which was reportedly sparked by an interview with the Qatari leader that Qatar said was a false news story. Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis have emphasized the need for Gulf unity and the importance of the USA partnership with Qatar, home to the Al Udeid Air Base, the main regional center for air missions against ISIS.

Tillerson then went to the White House, where Trump seemed to contradict him, putting the focus squarely back on Qatar.