Saturday, July 22, 2017
   
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

GCC crisis: Rex Tillerson meets Saudi king, FM

US secretary of state meets Saudi king and foreign ministers of UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in effort to solve Gulf dispute.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has held talks with Saudi Arabia's King Salman before meeting with his counterparts from the kingdom and the other three Arab states that have imposed a blockade on Qatar.

The meeting on Wednesday brings together foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt with Tillerson in the Saudi Arabian coastal city of Jeddah, according to the Saudi-owned TV network Al Arabiya.

The visit to Jeddah follows meetings in Doha with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. 

"I think Qatar has been quite clear in its positions, and I think those have been very reasonable," Tillerson said on Tuesday.

Tillerson and the Qatari foreign minister also announced that the US and Qatar made an agreement on combating "terrorism" and its financing during the visit.

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman said the memorandum of understanding has nothing to do with the current dispute. 

But Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) called the agreement "insufficient".

They added that the memorandum is "the result of pressure and repeated calls over the past years by the four states and their partners upon Qatar to stop supporting terrorism", an allegation Qatar denies. 


READ MORE: All the latest updates about the Gulf crisis


 

Wednesday's trip to Saudi Arabia is the third leg of Tillerson's four-day trip to the Gulf aimed at helping find a solution to the ongoing dispute in the region. 

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed a land, air and sea blockade on the country.

The quartet accuse Qatar of funding "terrorism", an accusation Qatar rejects as "baseless".

On Monday, Tillerson held talks with the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and other senior officials.

"We are trying to resolve an issue that concerns not just us but the whole world," Sheikh Sabah told Tillerson.


READ MORE: Qatar-Gulf crisis - Your questions answered


US officials said Tillerson does not expect an immediate breakthrough, which they warned could be months away.

Rather, they said, he wants to explore possibilities for prompting negotiations.

On June 22, the Saudi-led group issued a 13-point list of demands, including the shutdown of Al Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country, as a prerequisite to lift the sanctions.

Doha rejected the demands and the countries now consider the list "null and void".

Kuwait is trying to mediate the dispute.

'Take the temperature' 

The US has been supporting Kuwait's mediation efforts, but Tillerson's trip marks a new level of US involvement.

Senior Tillerson adviser RC Hammond said the package of demands, as issued by Qatar's neighbours, was not viable, but said there were individual items on the list "that could work".

Hammond would not elaborate on which demands Qatar could meet, but said concessions from the others would be required.

"This is a two-way street," he said of a dispute among parties who each have been accused of funding "extremists" in some way. "There are no clean hands."

rift


blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

Donation

Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:

Featured_Author

Login






Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Week in Pictures

Week's weather

Japan devastated by floods