Qatar foreign minister to go to Washington next week to discuss Gulf rift

Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Monday that he plans to travel to the United States next week to discuss the impact of a rift with Gulf Arab states on its economy and on the fight against terrorism.

Sheikh Mohammed also told journalists in Doha that Qatar was ready to engage in a dialogue with other Gulf parties to resolve the crisis based on clear principles and that Doha still believed a solution was possible through Kuwaiti mediation.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson previously cancelled a meeting in Mexico for the Organisation of American States to concentrate on a diplomatic crisis gripping the Middle East’s Gulf region.

“The secretary of state will continue his efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East region through in-person meetings and phone conversations with Gulf and regional leaders,” the State Department said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and others severed diplomatic ties and enforced a blockade on Qatar almost two weeks ago, accusing Doha of supporting extremist groups.

Qatar – a key ally of Washington and host of the Middle East’s largest US airbase – denies the accusations.