U.S. and Qatar agree to combat terror finance amid the blockade by KSA, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt
16th July 2017, Bachir El Nakib (CAMS), Senior Consultant, Compliance Alert (LLC)
The United States of America and the State of Qatar on Tuesday 11th July 2017 signed an "MOU" Memorandum Of Understanding setting the ground for better-cooperation to fight terrorism and terrorist financing. The agreement comes as the State of Qatar faces a blockade by Saudi Arabia and three other countries that accuse it of, among other things, financing terror.
"The memorandum lays out a series of steps the two countries will take over the coming months and years to interrupt and disable terror financing flows and intensify counterterrorism activities globally. The agreement includes milestones to ensure both countries are accountable to their commitments," U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was in Doha, Qatar Tuesday, said during a press conference (below).
The terror finance memorandum is a "bilateral agreement between Qatar and the United States which has been underway and in discussion for weeks now, and it has nothing related directly to or indirectly to" the blockade, however, said Tillerson's Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.
The four Arab states boycotting Qatar – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – said later on Tuesday that sanctions would remain in place until it met their demands and that they would keep a close eye on the tiny Gulf monarchy's efforts to fight terrorism funding.
Neither the U.S. nor Qatar has made public the details of the bilateral memorandum. A spokesman for the U.S. State Department declined to share the document or details of its contents when contacted by Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence.
In May, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum aimed at creating a so-called "targeting center" to jointly combat terrorism finance. That deal was signed the same day President Donald Trump delivered a speech in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, urging Arab and Islamic leaders to unite and do their share to defeat Islamist extremists.
It remains unclear whether the blockade and regional turmoil will impact the creation of the so-called Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, nor how the bilateral U.S.-Qatar partnership will play into the broader effort to combat terror finance.
Press Availability With Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani