Tillerson in new bid to ease Gulf crisis

2017-10-22 10:05
US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, outside Carlton Gardens in London. (Toby Melville, Pool Photo via AP, file)

US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, outside Carlton Gardens in London. (Toby Melville, Pool Photo via AP, file)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Riyadh - 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.

READ: Trump's jibe deepens feud with Tillerson

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.

Counter-terrorism

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.

While in Riyadh, Tillerson will also take part in the first meeting of a Saudi-Iraqi co-ordination council.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is leading a top-level ministerial delegation at the meeting, in a sign of warming ties as Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia seeks to counter Tehran's influence in Shi'ite-majority Iraq.

On the Gulf crisis, the goal will be to try to persuade the two sides to at least open a dialogue.

After holding a working dinner with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir on Saturday night, Tillerson was scheduled to meet other Saudi leaders on Sunday before heading for Doha.

Simon Henderson, a veteran of the region now at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, said the disputing parties do not want to lose face.

"Tillerson will say: 'Come on kids, grow up and wind down your absurd demands. And let's work on a compromise on your basic differences,'" he said.

Kuwait has tried to serve at a mediator, with US support, but the parties have yet to sit down face-to-face.

During his trip, Tillerson is also to visit New Delhi in order to build what he said in a recent speech could be a 100-year "strategic partnership" with India.

Tillerson will stop in Islamabad to try to sooth Pakistani fears about this Indian outreach, but also pressure the government to crack down harder on Islamist militant groups.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.