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Exclusive: Arab bloc won't discriminate against U.S. firms in Qatar rift - sources

From Reuters - August 13, 2017

DUBAI (Reuters) - Four Arab countries that imposed sanctions on Qatar have told the United States that U.S. companies doing business with them would not be punished for also working with Doha, four sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Foreign firms have become increasingly cautious on their cross border dealings over concerns they could fall foul of the region's biggest diplomatic crisis in years.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in July reassuring him that U.S. companies would not be discriminated against as part of the boycott, according to sources with knowledge of the letter.

The European Union has been given similar "official ... verbal assurances" by the UAE, the EU Delegation to the UAE told Reuters.

In the letter to Tillerson, the four countries said that they valued and intended to maintain their relationships with U.S. companies and that those ties would not be affected by the boycott, according to a source who has seen the letter.

The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi declined to comment on the letter. The four Arab states did not immediately respond to Reuters questions on the letter.

Tillerson made a four-day visit to the region in July where he met both sides of the dispute and made proposals to help end the crisis.

The four Arab countries cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar on June 5, suspending air and shipping routes with the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas and the home to the region's biggest U.S. military base.

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