Saudis say Qatar demands are non-negotiable

In a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Mr Corker announced he would not clear any more weapons sales in the region until the USA has a "better understanding of the path to resolve the current dispute and reunify the [Gulf Cooperation Council]".

In a quote reported by the "New York Times", Cardin said that he shares: "Senator Corker's concern that the current GCC dispute distracts from our shared, most pressing security challenges defeating ISIS".

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other Sunni-majority countries have severed relations with Qatar since June 5, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism based on its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Taliban.

Under U.S. law, major foreign U.S. arms sales are submitted for review to a small group of lawmakers, including the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, before they can go ahead. Qatar has denied those assertions and countered that the moves are a play by the Saudis to dominate its neighbors.

Trump offered some $110bn of arms sales to Saudi Arabia during a trip to the kingdom in May following which the US State Department approved the potential sale of more than $1.4bn worth of military training and equipment earlier this month.

The decision could jeopardize a $110bn arms deal that Mr Trump announced with Saudi Arabia in May.

His surprise announcement shows how frustrated foreign policy heavyweights on both sides of the aisle have become over the Trump administration's handling of the Qatar crisis and the harsh tactics of the anti-Qatar governments.

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Tillerson said Sunday that a number of the demands on Qatar would be "very hard to meet", and urged the USA allies to resolve their dispute.

As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Corker plays a central role in these sales.

The four Arab states gave Qatar 10 days to comply with the demands.

Speaking at the same event, the Iranian foreign minister Zarif said the countries who blamed Iran or Qatar for terrorism were trying to avoid taking responsibility for their own failures in addressing the demands of their own people.

But his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, acknowledged on Sunday that some of the demands issued by its neighbours would "be very hard to meet" and called for "dialogue leading to resolution".

While Secretary Tillerson will continue efforts to "ease the tension" by "lowering of rhetoric" of the conflict, the unwavering deadline set by the boycotting coalition continues to approach without any word on whether Qatar will agree to any of these terms and whether the rest of the Gulf States will entertain further negotiation.

  • Megan Austin