US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens to questions by journalists during a press conference in Doha, on July 11, 2017.
The US and Qatar announced they have signed an agreement on fighting terrorism, at a time when the emirate is facing sanctions from neighbouring countries which accuse it of supporting extremism. (AFP PHOTO/STRINGER)
WASHINGTON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday urged the four Arab countries to lift a land blockade on Qatar considering the tiny Gulf country's latest "positive movement" on counterterrorism.
Last month, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties and imposed sanctions on their neighbor, accusing it of supporting extremism and terrorism, an allegation denied by Qatar.
The incident has spiraled into one of the worst regional disputes in years.
Last week, Tillerson traveled to the Middle East. During his trip he signed an agreement with Qatar on combating terrorism financing in an effort to ease the tension in the region.
The Qataris have continued to move forward and have been "very aggressive" in implementing the agreement, Tillerson told reporters Friday before his meeting with visiting Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah in Washington.
He also said that Qatar has indicated "a willingness" to sit with the four countries and "discuss the demands."
Tillerson urged the four Arab parties to begin to take positive action and lift the land blockade as "a sign of good faith."
On June 23, the four countries issued a list of 13 demands to end the rift with Doha, including closing Al-Jazeera television and cutting Qatar-Iran diplomatic ties.
Since Qatar's response seemed unsatisfactory, the Arab quartet have decided to maintain their sanctions against Qatar.
Earlier this week, the four seemed to have modified their demands, urging the Gulf nation to commit to six principles on combatting extremism and terrorism and negotiate a plan with specific measures to implement them.