Tillerson urges Gulf states to address differences, stay united

Rex Tillerson called for unity within the Gulf Cooperation Council with most of West Asia already on the boil .

Rex Tillerson called for unity within the Gulf Cooperation Council with most of West Asia already on the boil .  

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today called on Gulf states to stay united and work out their differences after several nations cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

“We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences,” he said in Sydney.

He insisted that the US was open to playing any role to help address the impasse within the divided Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

In the region’s most serious diplomatic crisis in years, Qatar’s Gulf neighbours Riyadh, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as Egypt all announced they were severing ties with oil-rich Qatar.

Riyadh cut diplomatic relations and closed borders with its neighbour to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”, the Saudi Press Agency said.

A Saudi-led coalition which for more than two years has been fighting the Iran-backed rebels in Yemen separately announced that Qatar was no longer welcome to continue as a member of the regional alliance, accusing it of supporting terrorist organisations.

Qatar had assigned warplanes to the coalition conducting air strikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Tillerson said that despite the impasse, he did not expect it to have “any significant impact, if any impact at all, on the unified fight against terrorism in the region or globally“.

“All of those parties you mentioned have been quite unified in the fight against terrorism and the fight against Daesh, ISIS, and have expressed that most recently in the summit in Riyadh,” he added.

Less than a month ago, in the first foreign visit of his presidency, US President Donald Trump visited the region to cement ties with powerhouse Saudi Arabia.

In a Riyadh speech to Muslim leaders from around the world, Trump urged them to “drive out” extremists and “terrorists”. Sunni jihadists have ben blamed for carrying out attacks in many countries.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 12:53:55 PM |

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