Turkey’s president has arrived in Saudi Arabia to begin a three-nation tour aimed at helping to forge a resolution to the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and four of its Arab neighbours. Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled Sunday to the Red Sea city of Jiddah, where he is expected to hold talks with King Salman. His trip will include stops in Kuwait, which has been mediating the crisis, and Qatar. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties and transport links with Qatar in early June, accusing it of supporting extremists. Qatar strongly denies the allegation and sees the dispute as politically motivated. Britain’s top diplomat is welcoming comments from the ruler of Qatar on his country’s commitment to opposing terrorism and resolving its dispute with Arab neighbors through dialogue.
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Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said late Friday that Qatar is prepared to talk with the four countries that are isolating it and reaffirmed Qatar’s opposition to terrorism. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties and transport links with Qatar last month over allegations it supports extremists. Qatar denies the charge. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement Sunday that he hopes the quartet will respond to Qatar by ”taking steps towards lifting the embargo” so that ”substantive discussions” on their differences can begin.
A top official in the Arab bloc isolating Qatar says the Gulf state needs to change its policies as part of any direct negotiations to resolve the crisis. Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said late Friday that Qatar is prepared to talk with the four countries lined up against it, but that any resolution must respect its sovereignty and the terms cannot be dictated from outside. United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Relations Anwar al-Gargash responded in a Twitter post late Saturday that dialogue is necessary, but that Qatar must review its policies since repeating its previous positions only ”deepens the crisis.” Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties and transport links with Qatar in early June.