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US pushes for ‘Arab NATO’ to counter Iran

New York, Sep 29 (IENews) The Trump administration has pushed forward plans to create ‘Arab NATO’ that would unite US partners in the Middle East in an anti-Iran alliance.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in New York with foreign ministers from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, although Qatar has expressed to resolve crisis among Gulf countries, the Times of Israel said.

Pompeo had stressed to defeat the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations as well as ending the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, securing Iraq and “stopping Iran’s malign activity in the region.”

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told a news conference “The real challenge facing the US-led alliance is to solve the Gulf crisis.”

Al Thani said Qatar appreciates “all efforts” by US President Donald Trump, who has sent several letters to GCC leaders to try to solve the crisis, “but unfortunately the response” from Saudis and their supporters has not been positive.

Since June 2017, the Saudis, Emiratis and Bahrain, along with Egypt, have been boycotting Qatar and demanding that it limit its diplomatic ties with Iran, shut down the state-funded Al-Jazeera news network, and sever ties to “terrorist organizations” such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Qatar denies supporting terrorists.

The State Department said, “All participants agreed on the need to confront threats from Iran directed at the region and the United States.”

It said in a statement that the ministers had “productive discussions” on setting up what is to be known as the “Middle East Strategic Alliance” to promote security and stability in the region.

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