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British Foreign Secretary Calls on Saudi Arabia and its Allies to End Blockade on Qatar

2017-07-10 - 1:10 am

Bahrain Mirror: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called on Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies to end their blockade and siege of Qatar, playing down the possibility of a military escalation between the two sides.

During his visit to Kuwait, Johnson sat down with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah on Saturday before heading to Qatar.

"What people need to see is de-escalation and progress towards tackling the funding of terrorism in the region, and progress toward an end to this blockade," Johnson said in Kuwait City, expressing his support for Kuwait's mediating role in the crisis.

The top British diplomat, who held talks in Saudi Arabia on Friday, further described the siege on Qatar as unwelcome but played down the possibility of a military escalation as "highly unlikely".

"Everybody I have talked to said the opposite. No possibility of a military confrontation," he said.

On June 5 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorist groups, also criticizing it over its close relation with Iran. Qatar; however, which hosts the largesr US air base in the Middle East denied these accusations repeatedly.

On June 22, these four countries presented Qatar with a list of 13 wide-ranging demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face unspecified consequences.

The demands included shutting down the broadcaster Al Jazeera, removing Turkish troops from Qatar's soil, and scaling back cooperation with Iran.

Kuwait is leading efforts to broker a solution to the crisis which threatens the continuity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) founded in 1981.

Qatar officially refused to comply with the 13 demands, considering that they "represent defamation which conflicts with the established principles of relations between countries."

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to arrive in Kuwait on Monday for talks on the Gulf crisis.

Tags: Kuwait, Britain, Cutting Ties with Qatar

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