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Iran Press TV

Qatar opens military office in US amid Persian Gulf tensions

Iran Press TV

Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:24AM

Qatar has opened a new military office in the United States as a diplomatic crisis between Doha and its Persian Gulf neighbors continues unabated.

Qatar's Defense Ministry inaugurated on Monday the Washington Office for Defense Attaché Staff Brigadier General Yousef al-Kuwari, situated near the Qatari Embassy.

The Ministry's Directorate of Moral Guidance announced that the opening of the office is part of a new approach to boost defense ties between Qatar and the US.

Kuwari said that six officers and one non-commissioned officer would be posted to the office, representing Qatar's Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Forces.

Qatar is, itself, home to the largest American air base in the Middle East, al-Udeid, where some 10,000 military personnel are stationed.

Since June, Qatar has been under a trade and diplomatic embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates , who accuse Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.

The Saudi-led bloc presented Qatar with a list of demands, among them downgrading ties with Iran, and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face the consequences. Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and said that they were meant to "bully" the nation and make it abandon its independent foreign policy.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has tried to facilitate a dialogue between Qatar and the Saudi-led quartet, but his efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

"In my meetings with [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I asked him to please engage in dialog, [but] there is not a strong indication that parties are ready to talk yet," Tillerson said.

The top US diplomat made the remarks in a joint press conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha after a visit to Saudi Arabia.

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