The Second U.S. Effort to End the Gulf Crisis

Secretary Tillerson in the Middle East Photo: U.S. State Department
Secretary Tillerson in the Middle East Photo: U.S. State Department

The U.S. has initiated another round of efforts to solve the Gulf crisis. In his second round effort, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now visiting Saudi Arabia to initiate a new mediation effort to solve the Gulf crisis.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar accusing the gas-rich country of supporting terrorism.

Qatari economy was under severe threat given the blockading countries shut down their airspace, sea and land border all together for Qatar.

Qatar Airways now takes a long and complicated route to operate as the blockading countries banned their airspace for Qatar.

The blockade threatened Qatar’s food security. Around 40% of Qatar’s food used to get into the country through Saudi land border.

After Saudi Arabia shut down its land border with Qatar, Doha began outsourcing foods from Iran and Turkey.

The U.S. President Trump initially supported the blockading countries for severing ties with Qatar.

He later changed his tone. He urged the blockading countries to end the crisis as it hampers the U.S. interest in the Middle East.

The U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson visited gulf in July to mediate between the Gulf countries.

But Saudi led block rejected all possibilities of dialogues despite Qatar’s readiness for talks.

The blockading countries demanded Qatar to meet 13 conditions to solve the row including shutting down Doha based Al Jazeera and other Qatar sponsored media outlets.

Qatar rejected the demands and urged for unconditional dialogues to solve the dispute.

Now, after his first effort to set the countries for dialogues came to be a failure, the disappointed U.S. Secretary said in an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, “I do not have a lot of expectations for it being resolved anytime soon.”

“There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage… It’s up to the leadership of the quartet when they want to engage with Qatar because Qatar has been very clear – they’re ready to engage,” added Tillerson.

Mr. Tillerson is now in Saudi Arabia as part of his Middle East tour to push the leaders to end the Gulf crisis.

He met with his Saudi counterpart al-Jubeir on Saturday in Riyadh. In a joint conversation with al-Jubeir, the U.S. Secretary told the press, “The United States maintains very strong relationships with all of the countries involved in the Qatar dispute, including Qatar. And the United States intends to maintain those very strong, positive, important relationships.”

“They’re important from a security standpoint, they’re important from an economic standpoint, so whether it’s all four of the Quartet countries or Qatar, no change to the United States posture or its relations – important relationships with the four countries.”

 The U.S. Secretary Tillerson will shortly visit Doha to meet Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani as part of a new push to end the gulf crisis.

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