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Qatar crisis drags on; no end in sight
July 13, 2017, 9:18 am
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Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz receives US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson returns to Kuwait, makes no comments on Jeddah talks

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended talks with ministers from Saudi Arabia and three Arab allies on Wednesday over how to end a month-long rift with Qatar, but there was no immediate word of any breakthrough.

Tillerson returned to Kuwait, the mediator between the Gulf countries, without making any statement on his talks in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah. He had signed a US-Qatari accord on terrorism financing on Wednesday, but Qatar's opponents said it fell short of allaying their concerns.

Any resolution of the impasse must address all the key issues for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, a senior UAE official said before the talks in Saudi Arabia.

The four countries imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with the Gulf Arab states' arch-foe, Iran.

Any resolution of the impasse must address all the key issues for Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, including Doha’s undermining of regional stability, a senior UAE official said ahead of the talks in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking to reporters in Slovakia’s capital Bratislava, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said Tillerson’s visit was not likely to resolve the dispute.

“I think it will ease tensions but it’s just postponing the problem, which will grow in the future.”

Tillerson met the ministers in Jeddah in pursuit of an end to the worst dispute among Gulf Arab states since the formation of their Gulf Cooperation Council regional body in 1981.

Kuwait, which is mediating in the dispute and not boycotting Qatar, also sent an envoy.

Tillerson also met separately with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz in talks focused on combating terrorism and its financing.

In a joint statement issued after Tillerson and his Qatari counterpart signed a memorandum of understanding setting out provisions to combat terrorism financing, the four countries issued a statement calling the accord inadequate.

They also reinstated 13 wide-ranging demands they had earlier submitted to Qatar, as a condition for removing sanctions but later said were void.

The demands include curbing Qatar’s relations with Iran, closing the Al Jazeera TV channel, shutting a Turkish military base in Qatar and handing over all designated “terrorists” on its territory.

Source: Agencies

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