The top US diplomat, Rex Tillerson, wrapped up his first foray in shuttle diplomacy on Thursday with little sign of progress in breaking a deadlock between Qatar and four Arab neighbors that are isolating it.
The top US diplomat, Rex Tillerson, wrapped up his first foray in shuttle diplomacy on Thursday with little sign of progress in breaking a deadlock between Qatar and four Arab neighbors that are isolating it.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other Sunni-majority countries have severed relations with Qatar since June 5, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism based on its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Taliban.

Another point of departure is Qatar's ties with Iran, with whom it shares one of the world's biggest gas fields.

Qatar has denied the accusations and called the collective decision "unjustified." Kuwait, Turkey and the US have all urged a political solution as the bloc isolates Qatar using various ad hoc sanctions, including shutting down their airspace to Qataris and blocking import routes.

The dispute began in May when Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani was reported to have made statements on the state news agency supporting Iran. Doha said the statements were fabricated and disseminated via a hack.

Here are the latest developments in the crisis:

July 15, Saturday

France aims to be "facilitator" in Gulf crisis talks

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in Doha on Saturday that Paris wants to assist Kuwait-led mediation on the crisis between Qatar and four other Arab states.

"France should be a facilitator in the mediation" led by Kuwait, Le Drian told reporters following talks with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

Le Drian arrived in Qatar for a Gulf tour aimed at helping defuse the crisis pitting Qatar against its Arab neighbours.

"France is very concerned by the sudden deterioration in relations between Qatar and many of its neighbours," said Le Drian, who is to travel on to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.

July 14, Friday

Turkey's Erdogan plans Gulf visit to discuss Qatar dispute

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan hopes to visit the Gulf soon to discuss efforts to resolve the crisis, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.

"All our efforts are focused on a solution that suits the laws of brotherly relations," Cavusoglu told reporters after talks in Ankara with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.

Erdogan has criticised a list of demands made by the four Arab states to end the sanctions, including a requirement for Turkey's military base in Qatar to be closed.

UAE sees no quick end to dispute with Qatar

There will be no quick end to the row between Qatar and the four Arab states boycotting it, the United Arab Emirates minister of state for foreign affairs said on Friday.

"We are headed for a long estrangement ... we are very far from a political solution involving a change in Qatar's course, and in light of that nothing will change and we have to look for a different format of relations," Anwar Gargash wrote on his official Twitter account.

The statement suggested no breakthrough in the situation after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday wrapped up a four-day mission to the Gulf with little sign of progress in resolving the diplomatic crisis pitting Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar.

July 13, Thursday

Demand to shut Al Jazeera dropped: UAE minister

In an interview with The Times, UAE's Minister for the Federal National Council, Noura Al Kaabi, said the demand to shut down Al Jazeera had been dropped.

The Emirates sought "fundamental change and restructuring" of Al Jazeera rather than to shut it, he added.

"The staff at the channel can keep their jobs and Qatar can still fund a TV channel but not one which provides a platform for extremists and where the English channel is a protective shield for the much more radical Arabic one," Kaabi told The Times.

For more on previous developments, click here.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies