Emir, Tillerson hold talks on Gulf crisis
October 23 2017 12:33 AM
His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani meets with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani meets with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at Al Bahr Palace

Doha Agencies

*Saudi not yet ready to engage in direct talks, says US Secretary of State
*Qatar reiterates its commitment to constructive dialogue to end dispute

His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al -Thani met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his accompanying delegation at Al Bahr Palace in Doha yesterday.
During the meeting, they reviewed the bilateral and strategic relations between the two friendly countries, and means of developing them in various fields, as well as the latest developments of the Gulf crisis and its regional and international repercussions, and the US and international efforts to support the Kuwaiti mediation to resolve the crisis through dialogue and diplomatic means.
Tillerson also held talks with HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.
They discussed the strategic relations between the two countries and ways of boosting and developing them in various fields, as well as the international efforts to fight against the ISIS group (Daesh), besides the latest developments in the region, especially in Syria, Iraq and Palestine.
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De-escalate tensions, start talks: Tillerson
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The foreign minister also briefed his US counterpart on the latest developments of the Gulf crisis and the Kuwaiti mediation efforts, and affirmed Qatar's continued commitment to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the Gulf crisis.
Sheikh Mohamed also stressed Qatar's commitment to the GCC system, affirming that the convening of any summit of the GCC will be a good opportunity for a civilised and diplomatic dialogue between the GCC countries.
Later addressing a joint news conference with Sheikh Mohamed, Tillerson said Saudi Arabia is not willing to begin direct talks to resolve a months-long diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.
The US top diplomat arrived in Qatar following a stop in Saudi Arabia as part of a new push to end the dispute.
Tillerson said he is not hopeful Saudi Arabia is yet willing to enter discussions to resolve the crisis.
"In my meetings with [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, I asked him to please engage in dialogue, [but] there is not a strong indication that parties are ready to talk yet," said Tillerson, referring to his earlier discussions in Riyadh.
"We cannot force talks upon people who are not ready to talk."
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a land, air and sea blockade on their Gulf neighbour, accusing it of financing "terrorism" and maintaining close ties with Iran. Doha denies the allegations.
Tillerson and Sheikh Mohamed expressed concern about the effect of the crisis on the region's stability.
"It's very important for the GCC to continue to pursue unity," the US secretary of state told reporters, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council , a bloc that includes Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman as its members.
"It is most effective when it is unified and none of us can afford to let this dispute linger," he added, renewing a call for dialogue to resolve the dispute.
"We ask that everyone minimises the rhetoric and de-escalate the tensions and take steps to do so."
For his part, Qatar's foreign minister reaffirmed Doha's commitment to dialogue and emphasised the need for the crisis to be resolved.
"The GCC is quite important for the collective security and we feel sorry that the GCC will be the victim of the crisis against the state of Qatar," he said.
"This has affected directly the collective security of the GCC because of the behaviour of the blockading countries."
Al Jazeera's Marwan Bishara said Tillerson was "firm but not aggressive".
"I've never heard Tillerson more clear than he is today, about the roots of the crisis and how to resolve it and who is guilty of not making progress ... namely the four countries for being unwilling to engage in dialogue."
Earlier yesterday, Tillerson participated in the inaugural meeting of the Saudi Arabia-Iraq Coordination Committee in Riyadh, along with Saudi King Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The committee aims to improve ties between Iraq and Saudi Arabia that have long been regional rivals.

Last updated: October 23 2017 12:36 AM


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