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U.S., Qatar Sign Agreement On Fighting Terrorism, Financing

The United States and Qatar have signed an agreement on combating terrorism and its financing during a visit to Doha by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, his senior adviser R.C. Hammond has told reporters.

"Qatar and the United States have signed a memorandum of understanding between the two counties outlining future efforts Qatar can take to fortify its fight against terrorism and actively address terrorism funding issues," Hammond said on July 11. "This is a hopeful step forward."

Tillerson is in the Persian Gulf region as part of a bid to defuse tensions between Qatar and other Arab states.

He arrived on July 10 in Kuwait, and is planning to spend two days shuttling between Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to mediate the dispute that flared up last month when a Saudi-led group of countries cut ties with Qatar and imposed sanctions for alleged ties to Islamist extremist groups and regional rival Iran. Qatar has rejected the accusations.

Tillerson's trip to the region is the first concerted effort by the United States to intervene in the standoff.

Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are key U.S. allies in the region, with Qatar hosting the largest U.S. military base in the region.

The Al-Udeid Air Base is home to some 11,000 U.S. military personnel.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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