Top US diplomat faces tough Gulf talks on ending Qatar row

By REUTERS
July 12, 2017 11:29
1 minute read.
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DUBAI - US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson faces an uphill task in persuading four Arab states to end a boycott of Qatar in talks on Wednesday after the four labeled a US-Qatar terrorism financing accord an inadequate response to their concerns.

Any resolution of the dispute has to address all the key concerns of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, including Doha's undermining of regional stability, a senior UAE official said ahead of 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, charges Doha denies. The four states and Qatar are all US allies.

Tillerson will meet his counterparts from the four countries in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah to advance efforts to end the worst dispute among Gulf Arab states since the formation of their Gulf Cooperation Council regional body in 1981.

Shortly after Tillerson signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday in Doha on combating the financing of terrorism, the four countries issued a statement labeling it inadequate.

They also reinstated 13 wide-ranging demands they had originally submitted to Qatar but had later said were void.

The 13 include curbing ties to Iran, closing Al Jazeera TV, closing a Turkish military base in Qatar and the handing over of all designated terrorists on its territory.


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