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Rex Tillerson to visit Kuwait over Qatar crisis

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Washington: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Doha on July 10 in a bid to resolve the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the four Arab states which have snapped diplomatic ties with the West Asian country.

Tillerson will meet senior Kuwaiti officials who have been trying to mediate between the Gulf countries embroiled in the dispute, Efe news quoted the State Department as saying on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain announced on Wednesday that they would not resume diplomatic ties or lift the trade ban against Qatar, whom they accuse of having links to terror groups.

The four countries justified their stance by citing Qatar’s refusal of their demands to resume relations.

Those demands included shutting down the Al-Jazeera news channel, scaling down diplomatic relations with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Tillerson has been in contact with the Saudi-led bloc and Qatar — where the US has its largest military base in the region — and other regional players over the last month.

He has urged the five countries to resolve their dispute, warning that it hampers operations against the Islamic State terror group.

In late June, the State Department questioned whether the boycott of Qatar was about its alleged links to terrorism or “long-simmering grievances” among the Gulf countries.

Tillerson is currently accompanying US President Donald Trump — who has sided with the Saudi-led bloc and blamed Qatar for the crisis — in Hamburg, Germany, to attend the G20 summit that begins on Friday.

After the summit, Tillerson will travel to Kiev and then to Istanbul before his trip to Kuwait.

IANS

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