Qatar Defiant on Hamas Support

DOHA, Qatar (AP) -
Qatar, Hamas, Support
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday. (Qatar News Agency via AP)

A Qatari envoy says the energy-rich nation will continue development projects in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, despite a rift with its Gulf neighbors stemming in part from its ties with the group.

Qatar has been the largest single donor to Gaza over the past five years, disbursing about a half billion dollars for housing, reconstruction, infrastructure development, and health projects.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have pressed Qatar to end its support to the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood movement, the historical parent of Hamas.

Meanwhile, the United States and Qatar signed an agreement aimed at shoring up the Gulf nation’s counterterrorism efforts. The U.S. State Department designates Hamas a terrorist organization.

Senior Tillerson adviser R.C. Hammond says the deal outlines “future efforts Qatar can take to fortify its fight against terrorism and actively address terrorism funding.”

The memorandum of understanding was signed Tuesday during a visit to the country by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is in the Gulf on a mission aimed at ending a rift between Qatar and four Arab states.