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U.S. cancels military exercise with UAE over Gulf crisis

The U.S. military cancelled a planned military exercise with United Arab Emirates “out of respect for the concept of inclusiveness and shared regional interests,” amid the ongoing crisis in the Gulf, a spokesman said Friday.

In June, several nations in the region, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, launched moves to severe diplomatic ties and isolate Qatar, charging that Doha supported Islamist extremist groups and had developed strong ties with Iran.

“This is primarily a political issues between Gulf nations,” a spokesman for U.S. Central Command said.

“We will continue to support inclusive security cooperation events in the region and encourage all partners to work together toward common solutions to enable security in the Middle East region.”

Doha denies supporting extremists. Qatar shares natural gas reserves with Iran and the countries enjoy friendly relations, which have grown stronger as a result of the boycott on the small nation.

The cancelled exercise in the UAE is known as Iron Falcon and is focused on aerial training.

The spokesman said the cancellation will not affect the war against the Islamic State extremist group.

The U.S. has key bases in the region, including in Qatar, which has a Central Command headquarters and is home to the Al-Udeid airbase.

Some 11,000 U.S. troops and their allies are at the base, according to Qatari media.



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