Britain’s Theresa May urges easing of Gulf tensions

UK’s leader issues statement asking the Arab countries to urgently de-escalate the diplomatic rift.

Britain Election - Theresa May - LP
Britain's leader spoke with the kings of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and the emir of Qatar on Thursday evening [Alastair Grant/AP]

British Prime Minister Theresa May urged the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE to take steps to reduce tensions that have led the Arab world’s biggest powers to cut ties with Qatar.

“The Prime Minister raised the ongoing isolation of Qatar in the Gulf region, calling on all sides to urgently de-escalate the situation, engage meaningfully in dialogue, and restore Gulf Cooperation Council unity at the earliest possible opportunity,” a spokesperson for May said in a statement on Thursday.

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Qatar should “continue to build on the progress it has already made to address the scourge of radicalisation and terrorism in the region, in partnership with its Gulf allies,” the spokesperson added.

May’s office said she spoke with the kings of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and the emir of Qatar on Thursday evening.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged Gulf states including Saudi Arabia to ease their blockade of Qatar on Monday.

Qatar is facing an economic and diplomatic boycott by Saudi Arabia and its regional allies who cut ties last week, in the worst rift among Gulf Arab states in years.

They accuse Qatar of “funding terrorism”, fomenting regional unrest and cosying up to their enemy Iran, all of which Qatar denies.

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Source: Reuters