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Washington Asks Doha to Find ‘Common Ground’ in Crisis | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shake hands with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir Tuesday, shortly before their private meeting at the US Department of State in Washington, DC. (AFP)

Washington, Moscow – While Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz received on Tuesday a telephone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Gulf crisis, the US called on authorities in Qatar to find common ground to solve the crisis with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

The Saudi news agency SPA said on Tuesday that during their conversation, King Salman and President Putin discussed the latest developments in the region and the joint cooperation to combat extremism and fight terrorism to achieve security and stability in the region.

For its part, the Kremlin said in a statement: “Putin and King Salman bin Abdulaziz touched on the aggravated situation around Qatar, which unfortunately does not help consolidate joint efforts in resolving the conflict in Syria and fighting the terrorist threat.”

On Monday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress that funding of any kind of terrorist group “is inimical to all of our interest,” also stating that Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani has inherited a difficult, very tough situation, and “he’s trying to turn the society in the right direction.”

In line with those developments, a summit via telephone was expected between Russian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and Qatar’s Emir.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insisted Tuesday that Saudi Arabia has not imposed a “blockade” on Qatar.

While in Washington for talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, al-Jubeir said: “There is no blockade of Qatar. Qatar is free to go. The ports are open, the airports are open.”

The Saudi foreign minister added: “What we have done is we have denied them use of our airspace and this is our sovereign right.”

Informed US sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that a high-ranking Gulf delegation is currently in Washington to meet with Congress officials and tackle the crisis in the Gulf region and the means to stop supporting terrorism. The meetings in Washington come prior to the expected visit of the US Secretary of State to the region in the coming days.