Tillerson back to Kuwait after talks in Jeddah

There is no immediate word of breakthrough after Tillerson’s meetings with Saudi, UAE, Bahraini and Egyptian officials.

Tillerson Sheih Mohammed
Tillerson arrived in Kuwait on Monday for talks aimed at resolving the Gulf crisis [AP]

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ended talks with ministers from Saudi Arabia and three Arab allies over how to end a month-long rift with Qatar, but there was no immediate word of a breakthrough.

Tillerson met the foreign ministers in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea city of Jeddah on Wednesday in pursuit of an end to the worst dispute in decades among the US-allied Gulf Arab states.

Tillerson also met separately with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss cooperation in combating “terrorism” and its financing.

At that meeting, the Saudi crown prince praised the “continuous cooperation” between his country and the US.

Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Kuwait, said Tillerson had left Jeddah and returned to Kuwait for another round of talks with the country’s emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

Kuwait is trying to mediate the dispute.

Tillerson is scheduled to return to the US on Thursday, our correspondent said.

Aside from the details about who Tillerson met in Jeddah, there is no information about what was discussed or agreed upon during those meetings, she said.

The visit to Jeddah follows meetings in Doha with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. 

During that meeting, Tillerson and the Qatari foreign minister announced that the US and Qatar made an agreement on combating “terrorism” and its financing.

But Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates called the agreement “insufficient”. 

Tillerson also met with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in Jeddah on Wednesday [Al Jazeera screenshot]
Tillerson also met with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in Jeddah on Wednesday [Al Jazeera screenshot]

Any resolution of the impasse must address all the key issues demanded by Saudi Arabia and its allies, a senior UAE official told Reuters before the Jeddah talks.

US officials had earlier said Tillerson does not expect an immediate breakthrough, which they warned could be months away.

Rather, they said, he wants to explore possibilities for more negotiations.

But in another sign of the dispute continuing to simmer, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash sent a formal complaint to the UN high commissioner for human rights on Wednesday alleging that the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network supported “terrorism”, sectarianism and anti-Semitism.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan also told reporters during a visit to Slovakia that Tillerson’s visit was unlikely to resolve the dispute.

“I think it will ease tensions but it’s just postponing the problem, which will grow in the future.”

The four countries slapped sanctions on Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing “extremist” groups and allying with the Gulf Arab states’ regional rival Iran – allegations that Doha has repeatedly denied.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies