*Qatar's FM to hold talks with officials in Washington soon
The United States is pursuing various options to find a solution for the Gulf crisis, which is holding back progress on a number of important items, a senior US diplomat told Gulf Times on Monday.
“We are not happy about the Gulf crisis. There are still efforts behind the scenes for a solution for the dispute. We think that the dispute is holding back progress on a number of items which are very important,” said William Grant, US charge d’affaires and chief of the Doha mission.
“We think it is important for the region to be unified for the economies as well as to counter the threats to the region. We continue to talk to all these countries as we are friends with all of them and try to find a solution,” said Grant.
“There is always the possibility for a formal meeting with the parties involved in the dispute but there is nothing on the schedule yet. We have regular meetings individually as well as in groups. There was one group meeting in Riyadh a few weeks ago and there was one earlier in Washington. So, we are having meetings and we are not stopping our work on the common agenda,” explained the official.
Grant said that the bilateral relations between Qatar and the US are very strong and HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, will visit Washington soon.
“We have had a meeting in Doha with Qatari officials in January and the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a large number of US officials came here. That is what set the agenda for the next 12 months in areas of education, counter- terrorism and several others. We are working very closely with Qatar right now,” he noted.
“We have regular visits of officials between both the countries. HE Sheikh Mohamed is expected to be in Washington pretty soon and will meet with some key officials. We have a slew of officials from both the countries visiting to advance the agenda of our relations. We will also have an overall meeting in January next year, probably in Washington DC,” the official elaborated.
The Gulf crisis was triggered when the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in June 2017, falsely accusing Doha of supporting militants.
Regarding the Yemen crisis and the involvement of some GCC countries in the conflict, the official noted that the US is concerned more with the humanitarian situation in that country. “We are concerned with the situation in Yemen, especially the humanitarian situation. That is why we are supporting the UN special envoy to achieve a political solution to bring peace to the country and settle the military conflict,” added Grant.
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