July 3, 2017 / 4:53 PM / 2 years ago

Germany's Gabriel urges Gulf deal to end financing of terrorism

FILE PHOTO: German Foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel listens during a news conference in Riga, Latvia, March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA (Reuters) - The stand-off between the tiny Gulf state of Qatar and its Arab neighbors would best be solved by an agreement across the region to prevent the financing of terrorism, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.

Gabriel is on a tour of the Gulf region, where four Arab states have cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar over claims that it is financing militant groups. Qatar rejects the accusations.

“An agreement on ending any kind of support for terrorist or extremist organizations” would be the best solution to the crisis, Gabriel told reporters after a two-hour meeting with his Saudi counterpart Adel el-Jubeir.

“We all know that (this support) is not organized by states, but often by private persons,” he added. “But we must somehow succeed in ending support in the region for extremist and terrorist organizations.”

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt are pressing Qatar to shutter its Al Jazeera news TV station and dial back its relations to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival in the Gulf region.

Despite the pressure on Qatar, Gabriel said he did not get the impression after his meeting that the states were calling Qatar’s sovereignty into question.

Reporting By Sabine Siebold; Writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Andrea Shalal and Gareth Jones

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