Tillerson, Egyptian FM hold phone talk on Qatari crisis

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/7/4 10:12:25

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Monday received a phone call from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during which they discussed the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and an Arab alliance.

They discussed the latest developments in the row with Qatar and the bilateral relations between Cairo and Washington, Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement.

The two top diplomats also "agreed on continuing consultation and coordination on the developments in the region and working on boosting ties in various fields," the statement added.

The phone conversation was held as tensions are rising between Qatar and the Arab alliance, led by Saudi Arabia, which severed diplomatic ties early last month with Qatar.

They accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, interfering in the international affairs of its Arab neighbors, and having close ties with Iran, a Saudi rival.

Saudi Arabia, along with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, issued a list of 13 demands to Qatar late June, demanding Doha cut diplomatic ties with Iran, shutting down the Al-Jazeera TV channels, and stoping supporting terrorism.

Qatar has denied the charges and also rejected those demands, while signalling its willingness to resolve the dispute through talks.

On request of Kuwait, which is mediating the crisis, the Saudi-led alliance agreed late Sunday to extend by 48 hours the 10-day deadline for Doha to meet its demands.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani visited Kuwait earlier Monday amid the rising pressure from its Arab neighbors.

The minister was carrying a handwritten letter from Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the official KUNA news agency reported.

Doha was widely expected to submit to Kuwait its official response to the Saudi-led alliance on Monday, though no details have been disclosed so far.

US President Donald Trump spoke over the phone separately late Sunday with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, and the Amir of Qatar to discuss the Qatari crisis, the White House said in a statement.

Trump addressed his "concerns about the ongoing dispute between Qatar and some of its Gulf and Arab neighbors," while reiterating "the importance of stopping terrorist financing and discrediting extremist ideology," it said.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are scheduled to meet in Cairo Wednesday to discuss the standoff with Qatar and the next steps to take after receiving Doha's response.

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