The United States secretaries of state and defence have urged for a resolution to the Gulf crisis, as the dispute nears the eight-month mark.
At the inaugural round of the US-Qatar strategic dialogue meeting in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US remains as concerned today as it was at the outset of the Gulf dispute.
“The dispute has had direct negative consequences, economically and militarily for those involved, as well as the United States,” Tillerson said in the presence of Qatar’s foreign and defence ministers.
“It is critical that all parties minimise rhetoric, exercise restraint to avoid further escalation and work towards a resolution,” he said, adding, a “united GCC bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts”.
Qatar has been at odds with Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since June 2017, when the four countries cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade after accusing it of supporting “terrorism” and “extremism”.
Qatar has strongly denied the allegations.
In Tuesday’s meeting, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani thanked Tillerson and US Secretary of Defense James Mattis for “taking a just position on the illegal activities of the blockading states”.
“The state of Qatar and its people have been illegally and unjustifiably blockaded. This blockade disrupts joint efforts in providing stability for the region,” said Al Thani.