Talk to Qatar, Russia FM tells Saudi bloc
September 10 2017 06:59 PM
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a press conference with his Saudi counterpart (
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a press conference at the Saudi foreign ministry headquarters in Jeddah on September 10, 2017.

Agencies/Jeddah/Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has urged the Saudi-led bloc to negotiate with Qatar to end a months-long dispute that has seen a few Gulf countries sever ties with Doha.
"We have confirmed our position in favour of settling the disagreements via negotiations," Lavrov told Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir yesterday, according to a transcript released by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Lavrov, who met with senior Saudi statesmen in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, said Russia has commended Kuwait's efforts to mitigate the dispute.
Addressing a joint press conference with Lavrov, he said: "We are interested in all those mediatory efforts that are currently being made producing results and the unity of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) being restored."
The remarks came a day after Saudi Arabia announced a halt to any dialogue with Qatar because of false accusations that Qatar misreported the content of a phone conversation between His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.
The Saudi foreign minister said his country's position on the dispute has remained unchanged.
"Qatar knows what it has to do in order to end the crisis," the top Saudi diplomat said, sitting alongside Lavrov.
"Doha has to respond to the list of our demands so that we can turn over a new page," al-Jubeir said.
He avoided answering a question posed by the correspondent of Al-Arabiya TV about the phone call between US President Donald Trump and Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.
Qatar has adamantly denied the accusation that it supports extremism and rejected a list of 13 demands presented by the Saudi-led bloc of four nations to end their boycott.
Last week, Saudi Arabia suspended any dialogue with Qatar, accusing it of "distorting facts", just after a report of a phone call between the leaders of both countries suggested a breakthrough in the Gulf dispute.
Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia would keep pressuring Qatar until the demands are met.
The bloc's 13 demands include Doha ending its alleged support for Islamist groups, closing a Turkish military base in the country and downgrading diplomatic ties with Tehran.
The Russian and Saudi ministers also discussed the planned de-escalation zones in Syria and unification of the Syrian opposition.

Last updated: September 11 2017 12:42 AM


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