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US 'mystified' by Gulf states' position towards Qatar

Grievances towards Qatar are still not listed, which prompts 'more doubts' about reasons behind Gulf rift, US says.

Heather Nauert

The US state department says it is "mystified" that Gulf states have not released details about their grievances towards Qatar more than two weeks after they imposed a blockade on the country.

Heather Nauert, the state department spokesperson, said in Tuesday's press briefing that the more time goes by, "the more doubt is raised" about the anti-Qatar measures imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies.

"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," she said, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

READ MORE - Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates

The Gulf nations cut off sea and air links with Qatar, and have ordered Qatari nationals to leave their countries. They also urged their citizens to return to their respective nations, disrupting the lives of thousands in the region and restricting their freedom of movement.

Sanctions have also disrupted food and other imports into Qatar. 

The UAE said this week the sanctions could last for years unless Doha accepted demands that the Arab powers plan to reveal in coming days.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Doha would not negotiation with its neighbours to resolve the dispute unless they first lift the trade and travel restrictions.

Qatar has denied all accusations made by its neighbours.

Over the last two weeks US President Donald Trump has taken a tougher stance against Qatar, while the State Department had previously sought to remain neutral. 

Qatar hosts a US military base, Al-Udeid, which more than 11,000 US and coalition forces are deployed or assigned to and from which more than 100 aircraft operate.

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