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No Progress on Qatar Row as Erdogan Ends Gulf Tour
Local Editor

After two days in the Gulf trying to mediate in the worst row among Arab states for years, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan left Qatar Monday but there was no sign he had made any progress.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is welcomed by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview released Monday that Moscow was ready to help mediate in the dispute between the Arab states if approached.

In their first face-to-face talks on the Gulf crisis, Erdogan and Qatari ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani discussed "joint efforts to fight terrorism and extremism ... in all forms and sources of financing," and finding a "peaceful solution" to the crisis, state news agency QNA reported.

Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the talks covered "developments in Syria and Iraq, the fight against terrorism ... the importance of unity among Muslim countries and the importance of protecting countries' sovereign rights."

Turkey has sided with Qatar in the crisis, the worst to hit the region since the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council was established in 1981.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain suspended diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar over allegations that Doha had too close ties with Iran and supported extremist groups.

Sunday, Erdogan was in Kuwait, which is leading mediation efforts in the crisis, and also in Saudi Arabia, where King Salman hailed the Turkish leader's "efforts in the fight against terrorism and its financing."

Erdogan had voiced support for Kuwait's mediation efforts, a possible indication that Ankara sees the emirate as the key to resolving the crisis.

Qatar's emir said in an address to the nation Friday that Doha was open to talks with the Saudi-led bloc on condition that his country's "sovereignty" was respected.

His call received a cold reception from the UAE's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, who wanted Qatar to review its policies.

"Dialogue is necessary, but it should be based on a revision" of Qatar's stance, he tweeted.

Qatar has emerged as Turkey's top ally in the Middle East in recent years, with Ankara and Doha closely coordinating over issues including the Syria conflict.

Turkey has built increasingly close ties with Qatar in recent years, including opening its first military base in the Gulf there last year.

New Turkish troops hadarrived since the Gulf rift erupted, raising fears of an escalation with the countries seeking to isolate it. The anti-Qatar quartet included expelling the Turkish troops as one of its list of demands to resolve the dispute.

Under a 2014 agreement, Ankara could send in 1,000 troops.
Erdogan's Gulf trip follows visits aimed at defusing the crisis by the top diplomats of Britain, France, Germany and the US, underscoring the depth of concern the crisis is causing well beyond the region.

"We are interested in this crisis being overcome, taking into account mutual concerns and finding solutions which will be acceptable for all participants of this process," Lavrov told Kurdish television channel Rudaw, according to a transcript of the interview published on the Foreign Ministry's website.

"We support the mediating efforts which are being made by the Emir of Kuwait ... If as part of those efforts or in addition to them all sides think that Russia could also do something useful, we will be ready to respond to such appeals," Lavrov said, according to the transcript.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

25-07-2017 | 11:13

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