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U.S. Senator To Block Further Arms Sales To Gulf Arab States Until Dispute Settled

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker

The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on June 26 that he will block any further arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf Arab states until they resolve their dispute with Qatar.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently signed a deal to sell the Saudis $110 billion in arms and has made weapons deals with other Gulf Cooperation Council states -- including Qatar -- but those deals must get the go-ahead from the chairman of powerful congressional committees before they can be completed.

The Senate committee chairman, Republican Senator Bob Corker, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that he will withhold approval of any further arms deals because "recent disputes" in the region "only serve to hurt efforts to fight [Islamic State] and counter Iran."

After agreeing at a summit with Trump last month to combine their efforts to fight terrorism, the Gulf countries "chose to devolve into conflict" instead, he said.

The gulf council includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain -- which have imposed a blockade on Qatar, for allegedly supporting terrorism -- as well as Kuwait and Oman -- which have not taken sides in the dispute and are seeking to mediate it.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters