UK urges Arab states to end Qatar boy­cott

John­son wel­comes Kuwaiti me­di­a­tion in Gulf cri­sis

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Bri­tish For­eign Min­is­ter Boris John­son yes­ter­day urged Arab states to end their Qatar boy­cott, down­play­ing the odds of a mil­i­tary es­ca­la­tion in the worst cri­sis to grip the Gulf in years. John­son met with his Kuwaiti coun­ter­part Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah yes­ter­day and was sched­uled to visit Qatar later in the day. “What peo­ple need to see is de-es­ca­la­tion and progress towards tack­ling the fund­ing of terrorism in the re­gion, and progress to­ward an end to this block­ade,” John­son said, voic­ing sup­port for Kuwait as a me­di­a­tor in the cri­sis.

John­son, who also held talks in Saudi Ara­bia on Fri­day, said it was “highly un­likely” that the cur­rent stand­off would de­scend into mil­i­tary con­flict. “Ev­ery­body I have talked to said the op­po­site. No pos­si­bil­ity of a mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion,” he said. “The block­ade is un­wel­come and we hope there will be a de-es­ca­la­tion,” he added.

Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Egypt and Bahrain last month an­nounced the sev­er­ing of all diplo­matic ties with Qatar over al­le­ga­tions the emi­rate bankrolled Is­lamist ex­trem­ists and had close ties to Saudi’s archri­val Iran. On June 22, they is­sued a 13-point list of de­mands, in­clud­ing down­grad­ing ties with Iran and shut­ting down broad­caster Al-Jazeera, as a pre­req­ui­site to lift the sanc­tions, which in­clude the clo­sure of Qatar’s only land bor­der and sus­pen­sion of all flights to and from the coun­try. Doha has re­fused to com­ply with the de­mands and de­nies ac­cu­sa­tions of ties to Is­lamist groups.

Kuwait has been lead­ing me­di­a­tion ef­forts to re­solve the cri­sis that is threat­en­ing the ex­is­tence of the 36-year-old Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil. Kuwaiti of­fi­cials have held talks with the for­eign min­is­ters of Ger­many and fel­low Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil mem­ber Oman, which has not joined the Qatar boy­cott. US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son is sched­uled to ar­rive in Kuwait to­mor­row for talks on the Gulf cri­sis.

— AFP

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti For­eign Min­is­ter Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah meets his Bri­tish coun­ter­part Boris John­son yes­ter­day.

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