*Doha shows the way and dares siege nations to follow suit
*US secretary of state lauds Qatar's anti-terror measures
*Qatar's stance in Gulf crisis 'very reasonable': Tillerson
Qatar and the United States have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on combating terrorism financing.
At a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that Qatar, which was accused of financing terrorism, has become the first country to sign with the US a similar agreement aiming to combat terrorism financing.
The MoU comes within the framework of the continuous bilateral co-operation between Qatar and the US, and as a result of the joint work between the two sides, the exchange of experience and information and the development of this mechanism as well as the development of institutions between countries, Sheikh Mohamed said.
The foreign minister called on the countries, which imposed the siege on Qatar to "join the future" and sign the agreement to combat terrorism financing.
The MoU is a separate bilateral agreement between Qatar and the US, he said, adding that it has been discussed by the two sides for four weeks and has no direct or indirect connection to the Gulf crisis or the siege imposed on Qatar.
Sheikh Mohamed described the meetings he held with his US counterpart as "constructive" on the level of bilateral relations between the two friendly countries. He pointed out that a tripartite meeting where they discussed the Gulf developments was also held with the brothers in Kuwait and the friends in the US.
The foreign minister said that his meeting with Tillerson also discussed, within the bilateral framework, the importance of continuing cooperation and consultation between the two countries in all regional and political issues, underlining that the most significant outcome of these meetings was the signing of the MoU on combating terrorism financing, of which Qatar was accused by the siege countries.
He reiterated Qatar's support for Kuwaiti mediation with the help of the US. "From the beginning, we were positive and open to a constructive dialogue that leads to settlement and resolution, which is the usual behavior of Qatar," he said urging the siege countries to follow the same behaviour.
On the leaking of the Riyadh Agreement document , Sheikh Mohamed said that the leaking and its timing indicate clear efforts to undermine the Kuwaiti mediation and to influence the visit of HE the US secretary of state to the region as well as the efforts of the United States.
He noted that the media campaign, about Qatar's lack of commitment to the Riyadh agreement is full of fallacies. "Qatar has complied with all the terms of the agreement and that there were records attesting to its commitment to this, pointing out that the Riyadh Agreement is a collective agreement and not an obligation on Qatar only. Qatar was not mentioned as a single country required to comply with the agreement," he explained.
He stressed that the action taken by the siege countries against Qatar is a clear violation of this agreement because they did not use any of the dispute resolution mechanisms mentioned in this agreement.
The US secretary of state praised the wise leadership of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for being the first to respond to the Riyadh summit on combating terrorism financing. He asked all the region's states to combat extremism and violence and to not to provide a safe haven for terrorists.
Tillerson told reporters that the Qatari government had "reasonable" views in the month-old diplomatic crisis with Arab neighbours. "I think Qatar has been quite clear in its positions, and I think those have been very reasonable," Tillerson said .
He said the US and Qatar will work further to stop terrorism financing and maintain the region's safety, adding that the signing of the MoU reflected the hard work and extensive talks held between both sides to reinforce the results of the Riyadh summit.
Tillerson said the MoU specifies the steps each country will take to stop terrorism financing globally, and sets a timeline for its implementation.
"The MoU has been in operation for almost a year and is considered a renewal of the talks during the Riyadh summit and US President Donald Trump's call for combating terrorism financing. He confirmed Qatar has taken several steps in this regard .
The top US diplomat praised his talks with the Emir which he said touched on various topics. He said his visit to Doha holds the same spirit President Trump had on his visit to Riyadh, where the US had one goal- to eradicate terrorism around the world .
He described his discussions with the Qatari leadership as deep and constructive, noting that he will head to Saudi Arabia to discuss their concerns and the options for settling the crisis. He didn't predict a timeframe for reaching a solution and said the purpose of this visit was to support Kuwait's mediation, to help both parties understand the source of concern, and to find a possible solution to their differences.
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