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Egyptian FM Shoukry discusses Qatar rift with US envoys in Cairo

Ahram Online , Tuesday 6 Mar 2018
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Timothy Lenderking, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for Gulf affairs (Photo:

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with with two US envoys on Monday for discussions on ways to resolve the nine-month diplomatic rift between Qatar and four Arab countries, including Egypt, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE severed diplomatic and transport links with Doha on 5 June, accusing the oil-rich state of supporting terrorism and meddling in their internal affairs, sparking the region's worst diplomatic dispute in years. Doha denies the charges leveled against it.

Timothy Lenderking, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for Gulf affairs, and General Anthony Zinni, a retired former head of U.S. Central Command, have been travelling between Middle East capitals in recent months to resolve the lingering diplomatic row and support mediation efforts by Kuwait.

During the talks on Monday, Shoukry expressed the concerns of Egypt and other boycotting states over Qatar's "continued negative role in sponsoring terrorism and extremism" by providing financial aid and refuge to militants.

Shoukry reiterated that Qatar should abide by 13 demands listed by the four countries, including shutting down the Al-Jazeera television channel and downgrading relations with Iran.

The four states have repeatedly said they are ready for dialogue to ease the dispute if Doha shows a willingness to deal with their demands and stop its "hostile" policies in the region.

The fresh US involvement comes ahead of a series of visits by leaders from fueding Arab states, including Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who are expected to visit Washington in the coming weeks.

Shoukry said Qatar has yet to "prove goodwill" despite regional and international efforts to end the dispute.

The diplomatic rift is the worst dispute in decades between Arab states.

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