Qatar, Turkey praise Kuwait me­di­a­tion

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan ar­rived in Doha yes­ter­day as part of a Gulf tour aimed at de­fus­ing a dis­pute be­tween Turkey’s ally Qatar and a bloc of Saudi-led Arab states. Er­do­gan was greeted by Qatari ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad Al-Thani ahead of their first face-to-face talks on the Gulf cri­sis, state news agency QNA re­ported. Sheikh Tamim and Er­do­gan both backed Kuwait’s me­di­a­tion ef­forts to re­solve the dis­pute dur­ing the talks aimed at dis­cussing re­gional and in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ments, par­tic­u­larly on ef­forts to re­solve the feud through “di­a­logue and diplo­macy”, QNA said.

The visit was fo­cused on “de­vel­op­ments in Syria and Iraq, the fight against ter­ror­ism ... and the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing coun­tries’ sov­er­eign rights”, Er­do­gan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in Doha. Turkey has sided with Qatar in the cri­sis, the worst to hit the re­gion since the 1981 es­tab­lish­ment of the six-na­tion Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil. On June 5, Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Egypt and Bahrain sus­pended diplo­matic and eco­nomic ties with Qatar over al­le­ga­tions that Doha had too close ties with Iran and sup­ported Is­lamist ex­trem­ist groups. Qatar has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

Er­do­gan held talks on Sun­day in Kuwait, which is lead­ing me­di­a­tion ef­forts in the cri­sis, and Saudi Ara­bia, where King Sal­man hailed the Turk­ish leader’s “ef­forts in the fight against ter­ror­ism and its fi­nanc­ing”. Er­do­gan has voiced sup­port for the me­di­a­tion ef­forts of Kuwait, a pos­si­ble in­di­ca­tion that Ankara sees Kuwait as the key to re­solv­ing the cri­sis.

Qatar’s emir said in an ad­dress to the na­tion on Fri­day that Doha was open to talks with the Saudi-led bloc on con­di­tion his coun­try’s “sovereignty” was re­spected. His call re­ceived a cold re­cep­tion from the UAE’s state min­is­ter for for­eign af­fairs, An­war Gar­gash, who wanted Qatar to re­view its poli­cies. “Di­a­logue is nec­es­sary, but it should be based on a re­vi­sion” of Qatar’s stance, he tweeted.

Qatar has emerged as Turkey’s top ally in the Mid­dle East in re­cent years, with Ankara and Doha closely co­or­di­nat­ing over is­sues in­clud­ing the Syria con­flict where the two are staunch foes of Pres­i­dent Bashar Al-As­sad. Turkey is also set­ting up a mil­i­tary base in Qatar, its only such out­post in the re­gion. It has ex­pe­dited the process since the cri­sis be­gan and re­port­edly now has 150 troops in the emi­rate.

DOHA: Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan and his wife Emine Er­do­gan are wel­comed by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad Al-Thani at Doha In­ter­na­tional Air­port at the start of his of­fi­cial visit to Qatar yes­ter­day.

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