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Iran Press TV

Tillerson seeks to resolve crisis between Qatar, Arab neighbors

Iran Press TV

Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:39PM

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is embarking on his first shuttle diplomacy mission, heading to the Persian Gulf in a bid to end the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and a Saudi-led bloc of countries in the region.

The US State Department said on Monday the crisis talks will be held in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia during a 4-day diplomatic mission.

American officials said Monday that the top US diplomat did not expect to produce a breakthrough, but instead, wants to explore possibilities for bringing all sides to the negotiating table.

"We've had one round of exchanges and dialogue and didn't advance the ball," said senior Tillerson adviser R.C. Hammond. "We will work with Kuwait and see if we can hash out a different strategy."

The diplomatic row between Qatar and a Saudi-led alliance of Arab countries seems to have reached an impasse after Doha rejected a list of demands that it calls "unrealistic."

The unprecedented crisis in the Persian Gulf region unfolded on June 5, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties and imposed a blockade against Qatar over accusations that Doha is supporting "terrorism" and destabilizing the Middle East, allegations denied by Doha.

Many experts see the blockade as an attempt by Saudi Arabia to rein in Qatar's increasingly independent foreign policy.

Qatar has announced that it stands firm against what it calls bullying by some Arab states, saying it has enough financial resources to resist their sanctions.

a spokesperson for the US State Department warned on Thursday that the crisis between Qatar and its Arab neighbors may intensify and could potentially drag on for weeks or even months.

The split among the Arab states erupted in May after US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and then pointing out that numerous Arab leaders had complained to him that Qatar is supporting terrorism.

Tillerson will travel to the Persian Gulf region on Monday from Turkey, where he had meetings with Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid severe strains in Washington-Ankara relations.

Tillerson also visited Ukraine after he accompanied US President Donald Trump to the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Speaking to US diplomats in Istanbul, Tillerson said he believed the two countries are beginning to restore mutual trust that had been lost over the course of the last several years.

Ankara has been angry at Washington over its support for Kurdish militants in Syria. The Turkish government also accuses the US of being sympathetic to the plotters of the 2016 coup in Turkey.

Turkey believes the Kurds want to establish an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey and has strongly opposed their arming by the United States in their fight against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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