The US Department of State has criticised Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (‘UAE’), Egypt and Bahrain for failing to disclose precise reasons for their ongoing embargo against Qatar. In a press briefing on 20 June, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said:
‘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 they are making towards Qatar.
‘The more that 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 support for terrorism? Or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries?’
The State Department’s stance is in contrast to that of President Trump, who re-iterated the Gulf States’ explanation for the embargo, which was Qatar’s alleged support of terrorism. ‘The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level,’ said Trump on 9 June. ‘We have to stop the funding of terrorism.’
The Gulf States severed diplomatic ties and halted air, sea or land access to and from Qatar on 5 June. Senegal, Libya, Yemen, Mauritania, United Nations of Comoros, Maldives and Mauritius have since joined the embargo, while Jordan has scaled back diplomatic ties and closed the Al Jazeera bureau in Amman.