An agreement between Qatar and the United States on combating terror funding is “insufficient,” the four Arab states that imposed sanctions on the emirate said in a joint statement Tuesday.
The memorandum of understanding announced in Doha during a visit by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “the result of pressure and repeated calls over the past years by the four states and their partners upon Qatar to stop supporting terrorism,” said Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
“This step is insufficient,” said the statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA, adding that the four states would “carefully monitor the seriousness of Qatari authorities in combating all forms of financing, supporting and harboring terrorism.”
The statement said commitments made by Qatari authorities “cannot be trusted,” citing previous agreements that have allegedly not been honored.
It called for “strict monitoring controls to ensure its (Doha’s) seriousness in getting back to the natural and right path.”
CNN on Monday released details from allegedly leaked agreements between Qatar and its neighbors dating from 2013 and 2014, which specifically ruled out support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other unnamed groups that could threaten the bloc’s members. CNN said it received the documents from a source in the region.
Qatar sees the Brotherhood, and its Hamas offshoot, as a legitimate political force and has for years hosted its spiritual guide, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi. That puts it squarely at odds with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, which see the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
The four anti-Qatar countries lent credibility to the leaked agreements in a statement issued early Tuesday. They asserted that the documents “confirm beyond any doubt Qatar’s failure to meet its commitments and its full violation of its pledges.” Their 13-point list of demands in June was tied to those earlier deals and was “fully in line with the spirit of what was agreed upon,” they said.
The head of Qatar’s government communication office, Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, disputed that, saying the June demands “bore no relation” to the previous agreements, according to a statement carried by the official Qatar News Agency.
Tillerson and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani made the announcement of the new agreement at a joint news conference in Doha.
Tillerson said the agreement was built on decisions made at a Riyadh summit in May to “wipe terrorism from the face of the Earth.”
“As a result of President Trump’s very strong call, these commitments for action will begin immediately on a number of fronts.”
Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar was the first country in the region to sign an agreement with Washington to counter terror funding and called on what he called the “siege” nations to follow suit and sign their own agreements with the US.
The statement by the four states said sanctions against Qatar would continue until Doha “commits to comprehensively implement the just demands, including confronting terrorism and establishing stability and security in the region.”
A Qatari envoy had said earlier that the memorandum would not stop Doha from development projects in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, despite the rift with its Gulf neighbors stemming in part from its ties with the Palestinian terror group.
Qatar has been the largest single donor to Gaza over the past five years, disbursing about a half billion dollars for housing, reconstruction, infrastructure development, and health projects.
In addition to being the largest financial patron to Hamas-ruled Gaza, Qatar has hosted senior Hamas officials on its soil. It argues its aid is for the Palestinian people rather than the terror group.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have pressed Qatar to end its support to the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood movement, the historical parent of Hamas.
The terror group seized control of Gaza from forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.