Afternoon -- and I thank all of you for your patience. I know you’ve
been waiting a little while.
Three weeks ago,
the President joined members of the Gulf Cooperation
Council in a strong show of partnership, repudiation of extremism, and a
plan to defeat terrorism of all kinds in the region and around the
Now, the situation in the Arabian Gulf over the last few days is
troubling to the United States, the region, and to many people who are
directly affected. The United States wishes to reaffirm our commitment
to the spirit of the summit. As we combine efforts to defeat the
military, financial, and ideological support of terrorists, we expect to
see progress in the Arab world toward greater political expression. An
important pathway to attack Islamic extremism and to prevent political
activism from escalating into violence is to allow marginalized voices
opportunities for political expression.
But this process requires regional and global consensus and mutual
GCC summit creates a platform to achieve this
consensus and understanding. We call for calm and thoughtful dialogue
with clear expectations and accountability among the parties in order to
strengthen relationships. We ask that there be no further escalation by
the parties in the region. We call on Qatar to be responsive to the
concerns of its neighbors. Qatar has a history of supporting groups that
have spanned the spectrum of political expression, from activism to
emir of Qatar has made progress in halting financial
support and expelling terrorist elements from his country, but he must
do more and he must do it more quickly.
Others must also continue to eliminate factions of support for violent
organizations within their own borders. Again, that was a commitment
made by all at the summit. We call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt to ease the blockade against
Qatar. There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade. We are
seeing shortages of food, families are being forcibly separated, and
children pulled out of school. We believe these are unintended
consequences, especially during this Holy Month of
Ramadan, but they can
be addressed immediately.
The blockade is also impairing U.S. and other international business
activities in the region and has created a hardship on the people of
Qatar and the people whose livelihoods depend on commerce with Qatar.
The blockade is hindering U.S. military actions in the region and the
campaign against ISIS.
We support the
emir of Kuwait’s efforts to bring about a peaceful
resolution to this agreement and progress toward eliminating all forms
of support for terrorism -- military, financial, moral, or ideological.
The U.S. will support these mediation efforts along with the emir of
In the last few days, I have spoken to many leaders in the region. And
as I said to all of them, we know you are stronger together. It is clear
to me, based on these conversations, that the elements of a solution are
available. The GCC must emerge united and stronger to show the world the
GCC’s resolve in its fight against violence and terrorism, and its
commitment to countering the threat from extremism.
Our expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to
de-escalate the situation and put forth a good-faith effort to resolve
their grievances they have with each other.
Thank you very much.