Lavrov begins Persian Gulf tour to discuss Qatar crisis

Lavrov begins Persian Gulf tour to discuss Qatar crisis

WAAR-DUHOK:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will go on a brief tour of the Persian Gulf countries starting with Kuwait on Monday. During his tour, he will also make visits to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

While in Kuwait, the Russian top diplomat will be received by Emir Sheikh Sabah Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and hold talks with Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. Lavrov previously visited Kuwait in February 2014.

During his visit to Abu Dhabi, Lavrov is scheduled to hold meetings with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, as well as with Foreign Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In Doha, the Russian foreign minister will hold talks with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatari top diplomat Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani and Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah.

During the upcoming talks, special attention will be paid to the crisis in relations between Doha and a number of Arab countries. On June 5, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, as well as Yemen, the interim government of Libya, the Maldives and Mauritius announced cutting diplomatic relations with Qatar citing Doha’s hostile policies, interference in other Arab countries’ internal affairs and support of terrorism. Mauritania and the Comoro Islands later followed this example, while Jordan and Djibouti reduced their diplomatic representation in Qatar. However, Doha said these actions were unreasonable and rejected all accusations as groundless.

Russia said it would not meddle in the situation. Moscow also expressed hope that the issue would be solved peacefully and would not become an obstacle in the fight against terrorism.

On June 22, four Arab countries, including Bahrain, laid down conditions for restoring diplomatic relations, which particularly included reducing ties with Iran, closing the Al-Jazeera TV channel and putting an end to military cooperation with Turkey. Qatar’s government said that the demands were unacceptable as they had nothing to do with the fight against terrorism but aimed to limit the country’s sovereignty.

Later, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates set 13 conditions before Qatar, while Kuwait has been acting as a mediator. The Emir of Kuwait put forward an initiative to host a high-level meeting between the opposing sides.

Russia has been fully supporting efforts to ease tensions. “We have been calling on the interested countries to abandon confrontational rhetoric and start resolving issues at the negotiating table in order to reach compromises,” the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out adding that “we particularly support the Kuwaiti leadership’s mediation efforts.”

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