Republican Senator to Block (P)GCC Arms Sales

Republican Senator to Block (P)GCC Arms Sales  Republican Senator to Block (P)GCC Arms Sales

An influential Republican senator has announced he will withhold approval of US weapons sales to members of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, until there is a clear path for settling a major diplomatic crisis with Qatar.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday said in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that "recent disputes" among (P)GCC countries undermine efforts "to fight" the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, Aljazeera reported.

Corker said (P)GCC member states devolved into conflict, instead of seeking to ease regional tensions and expand their security cooperation.

On June 5, three (P)GCC members-Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain-along with Egypt, cut ties with Qatar over allegations that it funds "terrorism"-an accusation Doha strongly rejects but that was echoed by US President Donald Trump.

The move has left Qatar under a de-facto blockade by its neighbors.

As chairman of Foreign Relations Committee, Corker plays a central role in allowing or blocking US weapons sales.

"Congress has a particular power here, which is very important," Aljazeera's James Bays, reporting from Washington, DC, said, adding that in his letter Corker was "careful" not to single out a specific country.

Nevertheless, he did write that the (P)GCC had failed to "take advantage" of an Arab-Islamic-American summit last month in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, where Trump and dozens of Arab and Muslim leaders discussed ways of rooting out "terrorism", and "instead chose to devolve into conflict".

Caption: US Senator Bob Corker

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