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US official downplays effect of Gulf rift on extremist fight

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/06/2017 By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Correspondent
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop walk on the grounds of Government House in Sydney, where they are meeting for the 2017 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) Monday, June 5, 2017. The annual meeting brings together the Australian ministers for foreign affairs and for defense with the U.S. secretaries of state and defense, along with senior officials from both portfolios. (Mark Metcalfe/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop walk on the grounds of Government House in Sydney, where they are meeting for the 2017 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) Monday, June 5, 2017. The annual meeting brings together the Australian ministers for foreign affairs and for defense with the U.S. secretaries of state and defense, along with senior officials from both portfolios. (Mark Metcalfe/Pool Photo via AP)

SYDNEY — The top U.S. diplomat says he does not expect a growing rift between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors to degrade unity in the fight against Islamic extremists.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tells a news conference in Sydney that the rift will have no implications for the effort against the Islamic State group.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all have announced they have cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, which hosts a key U.S. air base.

Saudi Arabia said Qatari troops would be pulled from its ongoing war in Yemen.

All the nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic to Qatar.

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