Top US diplomat urges unity among Arab Gulf States

By Rasha Khalaf

KUWAIT CITY (AA) – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the restoration of Arab Gulf unity was in the best interest of all parties in the region.

Tillerson made the assertion at a press conference held in Kuwait, where he is attending a high-level meeting between members of a U.S.-led coalition against the Daesh terrorist group.

At the press conference, Tillerson commented extensively on the months-long political crisis pitting Qatar against a four-nation bloc led by Saudi Arabia.

Last summer, Saudi Arabia — along with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — collectively severed ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism and standing too close to Iran.

Qatar, for its part, dismisses the allegations as baseless, saying that attempts to isolate it by its fellow Gulf States constitutes a violation of international law.

Tillerson plans to visit Ankara later this week to discuss the ongoing fight against Daesh with Turkish officials.

The U.S. secretary of state is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu the following day.

On Tuesday, a ministerial-level meeting between members of a U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition kicked off in Kuwait City.

The coalition, which includes 74 countries, was cobbled together in late 2014 after the terrorist group overran vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.