The US State Department bluntly questioned on Tuesday the motives of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their boycott of Doha, saying it was "mystified" the Gulf states had not released their grievances over Qatar.
In Washington's strongest language yet on the Gulf dispute, the State Department said the more time goes by, "the more doubt is raised about the actions taken by Saudi Arabia and the UAE."
"At this point, we are left with one simple question: Were the actions really about their concerns regarding Qatar's alleged support for terrorism or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC countries," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, referring to the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. The fact the State Department bluntly questioned Riyadh and Abu Dhabi's actions in public suggests Washington was keen for the parties to end the dispute.
"We've said to the parties involved: Let's finish this. Let's get this going," Nauert said.
The United Arab Emirates, which along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain imposed the measures to isolate Qatar, has said the sanctions could last for years unless Doha accepted demands that the Arab powers plan to reveal in coming days.
The State Department, headed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was encouraging "all sides to de-escalate tensions and engage in constructive dialogue."
Qatar's Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Doha would not negotiate with its neighbors to resolve the Gulf dispute unless they first lift the trade and travel boycott they imposed two weeks ago. He added that Doha still believed a solution was possible.
"Now that it has been more than two weeks since the embargo started, we are mystified that the Gulf states have not released to the public nor to the Qataris the details about the claims that they are making toward Qatar," Nauert added.
There was no immediate comment from Riyadh or Abu Dhabi.
Qatar has denied accusations by its neighbors that it funds terrorism, foments regional instability or has cosied up to their enemy Iran.
The UAE's ambassador to the United States said last week a list of demands for Qatar was being compiled and would soon be handed to the United States.
He said they would broadly address the three areas of support for terrorism, meddling in the internal affairs of these countries and attacks through Qatari-owned media platforms.
The Pentagon has said the boycott was hindering US ability to plan for long-term operations in the region.
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