Tillerson launches fresh bid to ease Gulf crisis

- Agence France-Presse, RIYADH

Oct 23, 2017-

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is to launch a fresh bid on Sunday to ease a crisis between Riyadh and Doha, both allies of Washington, but without high hopes of a breakthrough.

Apart from the months-long crisis, Iran’s rising influence in the Middle East is also expected to figure high on the agenda of America’s top diplomat during talks in the two capitals.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar and imposed an embargo in June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and cosying up to Iran.

Doha denies the charges and has rejected their terms for a settlement.

Tillerson made an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the dispute during a trip to the region in July.

US President Donald Trump, after initially appearing to support the effort to isolate Qatar, has called for mediation and recently predicted a rapid end to the crisis.

But before he arrived at Riyadh’s King Salman air base on Saturday, Tillerson indicated there had been little progress.

“I do not have a lot of expectations for it being resolved anytime soon,” he said in an interview with financial news agency Bloomberg.

“There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage.”

Aside from the Gulf dispute and Iran, the conflict in Yemen and counter-terrorism will also figure in his talks, the State Department said.

Published: 23-10-2017 09:44

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