US concerned Arab dispute with Qatar may intensify

By REUTERS
July 7, 2017 05:22
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WASHINGTON - The United States is increasingly concerned that a rift between Qatar and other Arab states is at an impasse and could drag on for a long time or intensify, the US State Department said on Thursday.

Underscoring US concerns about a crisis involving key allies in the Middle East, the department said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to visit Kuwait, which is mediating in the dispute, on Monday.

In the latest top-level US contact with officials of the countries involved in the dispute, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis discussed the importance of easing tensions in a phone call with Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain broke diplomatic relations with Qatar last month and launched a drive to boycott the gas-producing state, which they accuse of supporting terrorism and allying with regional foe Iran.

Qatar denies the charges and has accused the four countries of "clear aggression."


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