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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 July 2018

John Kerry endorses Qatar boycott, Saudi anti-corruption drive

The former US Secretary of State made the comments during at speech at the Chatham House think tank in London

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at Chatham House in London, England. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Former US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at Chatham House in London, England. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

John Kerry has backed the boycott of Qatar as part of a wider drive to quash extremism and transform societies in the region.

“I have great respect, frankly, for what the crown prince in Saudi Arabia and King Salman are trying to do to move Saudi Arabia into modernity. It’s a huge lift folks, huge challenge to try to change those societies,” the former US Secretary of State told an audience this week.

“Together with the Emiratis and other they are taking a very firm stand against extremism that in its duplicitous form has been allowed to play a game out there.

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“That’s part of what this challenge with Qatar is about. It’s not just about two nations in the region squabbling. It’s about this bigger vision of where we are going and whether we are going to stop extremism.”

Kerry is the most senior Democrat to show support for the move to confront Qatar over its policies.

The former senator told the Chatham House international affairs think tank in London that the fate of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal lay in the hands of the US congress after President Donald Trump refused to certify Iran’s compliance.

"It's been flipped over to the Congress with instructions, you guys fix it,” he said.